Saturday, September 28, 2013
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Al-Shabab claims Nairobi attack, warns Kenyan troops to leave Somalia
Kenyan troops surround Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall where a militant attack left at least 39 people dead and 150 more injured on September 21, 2013.
Somalia’s al-Shabab fighters have claimed responsibility for Saturday’s deadly attack in a shopping mall in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, warning the Kenyan government to withdraw its troops from their country.
An al-Shabab spokesman said in a statement issued on Saturday that his group was behind the attack on Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall that left at least 39 people dead and 150 more injured.
"The Christian government of Kenya invaded our country in October 2011 killing many innocent civilians with their military jets," Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage said.
"We have warned Kenya of that attack but it ignored (us), still forcefully holding our lands ... while killing our innocent civilians," Rage said.
"This led the Mujahideen to wage revenge attacks on Kenya. Today, a unit of al-Shabab al-Mujahideen attacked an important center for Kenya, taking control of it," he added.
"If you want Kenya in peace, it will not happen as long as your boys are in our lands," Rage said in the statement.
Kenya has more than 4,000 army soldiers in southern Somalia, where they have been battling the al-Shabab fighters since 2011.
The Kenyan troops are part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) that gets training and equipment from the United States.
Somalia has not had an effective central government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.
However, MPs meeting in Mogadishu elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the new president of Somalia with a big majority in September 2012.
The weak Western-backed government in Mogadishu has been battling al-Shabab fighters for more than six years and is propped up by the 10,000-strong AMISOM force from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, and Kenya.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
By Bosire Boniface in Garissa
A relative calm has returned between the Gabra and Borana communities on the Kenyan-Ethiopian border after simmering political tension boiled over last week, leaving at least 12 people dead and more than 60,000 displaced.
- A view of Moyale, a border town that spans Kenya and Ethiopia, on August 22nd. Violence between the Gabra and Borana clans in recent weeks killed at least 12 people and displaced more than 60,000. [Bosire Boniface/Sabahi]
- The distance between Moyale in Kenya and Ethiopia is less than one kilometre. [Bosire Boniface/Sabahi]
The recent escalation of violence started August 22nd when three people were killed in Marsabit, and a lorry driver was attacked on the Nairobi-Moyale highway. Two days later, three more people were killed in skirmishes between the Borana and Gabra communities in Moyale.
Between August 29th and 30th, six more people were killed and more than 20,000 people fled over the border to Ethiopia, which is less than a kilometre from Moyale town, Kenya Red Cross Society co-ordinator Stephen Bunaya told Sabahi.
"About 40,000 others are camping inside Kenya in schools," he said. "The schools have been on holiday and when they resume the families will have to vacate."
During the violence, Bunaya said, more than 50 houses including business premises were set on fire.
Conflicts between the two communities are common and often triggered by politics and revenge, said Ali Abdi, a journalist based in Isiolo who is familiar with the clashes.
The Borana are the majority in Moyale district, while the Gabra are the majority in neighbouring Marsabit district. In the March 4th general elections, the Gabra swept virtually all the top county seats creating an undercurrent of discontent among the Borana, Abdi explained.
"There has been a feeling among the Boranas in Marsabit County that they should have had at least two leaders in the top county seats to ensure they are adequately represented," he told Sabahi.
The move by the national and county governments to settle Gabra families around Sololo in July sparked the violence that broke out mid-August, Abdi said.
"The Borana protested the move claiming the area is their ancestral land and the Gabra families had been brought in from Ethiopia," he said. "There was an attack on the resettled families and what followed was retaliation."
The situation escalated when the two communities' clansmen who live in Ethiopia got involved. "There has been political discontent, but the settling of the Gabra families ignited the violence," Abdi said.
Residents call for peace
Residents who spoke to Sabahi said the situation was calm now, but remained tense below the surface.
"It is calm at the moment because the security officers are on patrol but no one is willing to return to their homes for fear of a possible attack," said Huka Hassan Ali, a 34-year-old Gabra resident of Funyatta neighbourhood.
"The attackers came to us and told us to vacate the land because it belongs to the Borana," he said. "I believe Borana politicians are behind these attacks because there was talk that the Gabra should not expect to live on Borana land if they cannot support their leaders."
He said the fighting has been affecting all businesses. "We just want normalcy to return so that we can [provide] for our families," he said. "I have had enough of the fight sparked by our political differences."
Abdi Golicha, 37, of Odda neighbourhood, said the violence claimed the life of his cousin.
"I am a Borana but the violence has left me mourning," he said. "The violence teaches us that no one has the monopoly on violence. We should live together in harmony and bury our differences. I am hurt by the loss, but I am not planning any revenge for the sake of peace."
County government pledges to be inclusive
In a bid to tame the violence from spreading to other towns, the government on Thursday (August 29th) deployed more security forces to the region, including the military, Marsabit County Commissioner Isaiah Nakoru told Sabahi.
"We are preventing a pattern from previous lessons where an attack between the two communities spread to other towns like Marsabit," he said. "We are also providing security escort to motorists."
Nakoru said they are also working with Ethiopian authorities to control the feuding tribes on both sides of the border. So far, local Kenyan authorities have arrested at least 40 people and are questioning some community leaders to establish their roles in the latest violence, he said.
Marsabit County Governor Ukur Yatani said that leaders from the two communities have called for a ceasefire as they a seek solution to the violence.
"Violence was the last thing we expected as we prepare to implement development projects," he told Sabahi. "We just received our share of money from the national government and we will not entertain trouble makers to derail progress."
Besides the Borana and Gabra tribes, there are Burji, Somalis, Gare and smaller tribes who will all have a slice of the development pie, he said.
"In the previous systems there was unfairness in the distribution of resources and jobs, but under my watch no one will feel left out," he said.
Sunday, September 1, 2013
|By Chris Mgidu and Joy Nabukewa MOMBASA, (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government on Wednesday pledged its commitment to expediting the regional integration in East Africa by promoting the free movement of labor, goods and services.|
President Uhuru Kenyatta said his government has also undertook to deepen Kenya’s economic ties with neighboring countries—South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia, and to take steps towards eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers while encouraging greater collaboration of regional partners.
The president said the regional integration will be spearheaded through joint infrastructure programs and investments to harness the collective potential of the region.
The facility reflects the expanded capacity at the port of Mombasa and will enable berthing of large container ships. It is the single largest berth capacity expansion undertaken in 35 years.
The Mombasa-based port facility is the best equipped on the East African coast, being the second largest port in terms of tonnage and containers handled after Durban of South Africa. It serves the hinterland markets of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, South Sudan and Ethiopia.
Kenyatta has said Mombasa port must position itself to serve the interests of the entire East Africa region, and that the government plans to transform the port into the largest, busiest and most business-friendly sea-port on the East African coast.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda said the port was critical in assisting producers of goods and services in the region to access local and international markets.
Museveni, who is also the current chairman of the East African Community, challenged regional states to unite in a bid to create a bigger market for regional products and services as well as consolidate their bargaining power with major global economies and trading blocs.
He lauded his Kenyan counterpart’s personal efforts that helped remove non-tariff barriers such as roadblocks and corruption resulting in faster movements of goods, people and services between Kenya and Uganda.
During the commissioning, Kenyatta expressed his government’s readiness to improve road and rail links with neighboring countries, starting with the building of a standard gauge railway from Mombasa to Malaba in order to increase rail freight from the current 4 percent to at least 50 percent in the next few years.
He said Kenya was also committed to the Lamu Port-South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) project to pave way for the transformation of transport and logistics and accelerate the social and economic development of the region.