Friday, May 16, 2014

16-May-14: More jihadist killings in East Africa today

Kenya is experiencing a rising wave of terror attacks. Today, Friday, two explosions in Narobi, the capital, killed 10 people and injured 70. Both were caused by improvised explosive devices placed in the Gikomba market area close to the city's downtown precinct. A mini-van used for public transportation was hit by one of the explosions. Earlier in the week, both the United States and the UK issued renewed warnings about terror attacks in Kenya. (Buses were bombed in Nairobi earlier this month; innocent people were killed then too.)

The US embassy in Nairobi which was devastated in a huge attack in 1998, issued a fresh travel alert early this morning to American citizens warning of a continued terrorist threat in Kenya. The embassy itself had said a day or two earlier that it is taking steps to increase security “due to recent threat information regarding the international community in Kenya.” The UK government has warned its citizens to avoid the coastal city of Mombasa and beach towns nearby. Hundreds of British citizens have cut short their holidays and have flown home.

Prior to today's murderous attacks, Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta had rather bizarrely criticized the warnings on the grounds, according to Reuters, that "such warnings strengthen the will of terrorists".

According to the BBC's report, Kenya's government
recently round up all refugees of Somali origin in an attempt to rid the city of terror suspects they believe to be hiding among refugees. The al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabab has launched a series of attacks against Kenyan targets in recent years, claiming to be retaliating for Kenya's military involvement in Somalia since 2011.
Terrorists rarely attack without attributing their rage to some pre-existing cause. In the case of the al-Shabaab of Somalia, its composition is thought to be multi-ethnic, led by Afghanistan- and Iraq-trained ethnic Somalis and foreigners. It is loosely connected to the Boko Haram of Nigeria and, like them, describes itself as waging jihad against "enemies of Islam".

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