Al Shabaab attack Kenyan police camp, kill 7

Al-Shabaab

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ISIOLO, Kenya | Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:58am EST

ISIOLO, Kenya

(Reuters) – Somali Islamist rebels stormed a remote police camp in northeastern Kenya, killing seven people and kidnapping three, the militants and Kenyan officials said on Thursday.

Scores of rebel fighters threw grenades and other explosives as they raided the police camp on Wednesday evening in Gerille, a town 7 km (4 miles) from the porous frontier with Somalia, Regional Commissioner Wenslas Ongayo said.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said in a statement there were about 100 suspected al Shabaab attackers and two officials and a member of the public had been abducted.

Kenya has tried to beef up security along the border since it sent troops into the anarchic Horn of Africa country in October to crush the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab insurgents.

Al Shabaab said it carried out the raid to avenge the “aggressive Kenyan invasion”.

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Gulf of Aden Security Review – December 27, 2011

English: War flag of al-Shabaab

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Yemen: Yemeni President Saleh awaits visa from U.S. for medical care; fighting in Zinjibar between Yemeni soldiers and al Qaeda-linked militants kills five soldiers and four militants; troops loyal to Saleh kill nine “Life March” protesters and injure at least 90 more people in Sana’a; clashes between Islah party backers and al Houthi rebels leaves 20 people injured

Horn of Africa: Kenyan air raids in Badhadhe, Somalia and Kolbio, Kenya reportedly kill over 200 al Shabaab militants; roadside bomb in Boosaaso, Somalia kills at least three security officials; clashes between TFG and al Shabaab in Mogadishu leave one person dead; grenade attack by al Shabaab-linked suspects in Wajir district of Kenya wounds 7 people; landmine near Mogadishu kills one AMISOM soldier and wounds two others; at least 20 al Shabaab militants killed in alleged Kenyan airstrike on Kismayo; clashes between local clan militias and Galmudug forces in Galkayo leave six people dead and 10 wounded; gunman shoots and kills three aid workers in Mataban, Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is waiting for the Obama administration to approve his visa request to the U.S. for medical treatment. Officials reported that the conditions for the approval of Saleh’s visa request have not yet been submitted to the American Embassy in Yemen. Another administration official reported that Saleh could potentially arrive to New York-Presbyterian Hospital as early as next week.[1]
  • A military official reported that Yemeni soldiers clashed with al Qaeda-linked militants in Zinjibar in Abyan governorate, killing five soldiers and four militants. Alleged militant hideouts were shelled during the attacks.[2]
  • Local eyewitnesses reported that troops loyal to Saleh fired at and killed nine protesters and 90 others wounded outside of Saleh’s compound in Sana’a on December 24. The protesters were part of a days-long march from Taiz to Sana’a in demand of a trial for Saleh. Following the killings, Yemen’s acting leader Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi urged Saleh loyalists and rebels to call a truce. U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein told Yemeni journalists that the march was aimed at creating “chaos and violence.”[3]
  • Clashes between members of the Islah party and the al Houthi rebel movement in Sana’a square resulted in 20 injured people. A representative of the al Houthi rebel movement reported that Islah party backers attacked a tent it had pitched to protest the conditions of the deal set to remove Saleh from office.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) reported that air raids carried out by Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) killed over 200 al Shabaab militants in Badhadhe in Gedo region in Somalia and Kolbio in north Kenya on December 24. The air raids were the result of intelligence reports that al Shabaab was on the verge of attacking Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and KDF troops.[5] Continue reading

Somali Islamists Kill Kenyan Policeman

Monday, December 19, 2011Somalia-KenyaPolice in northern Kenya say a suspected landmine blast has killed a police officer and wounded two others at the Dadaab refugee camp.

Authorities said the explosion Monday happened as the officers were traveling in a vehicle.

It is the latest in a series of small-scale attacks that have hit Kenya since the government sent troops into neighboring Somalia to pursue al-Shabab militants. Kenya accuses the al-Qaida-linked fighters of kidnapping foreigners on Kenyan soil. Continue reading

SomaliaReport: Al-Shabaab to Change Name to Imaarah Islamiyah

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By MOHAMED ODOWA, JD 12/05/2011

Somalia’s al-Shabaab militants agreed to change their name to Imaarah Islamiyah (Islamic Authority) after four days of meetings in Baidabo of Bay region, according to al-Shabaab’s senior officers.

A number of senior Islamic leaders attended the meeting including Ali Dhere, Mukhtaar Robow, Fu’ad Shangole and Hassan Dahir Aweys. Ahmed Godane, the only senior leader who did not attend, sent a message in which he reportedly disagreed with the name change. Upon concluding the meeting, the militants released a statement in which they said they plan not only to change their name, but also their tactics, and called on Somalia’s citizens to fight against the government and its allies. “The Transitional Federal Government is not the right government for Muslims. It is from the western enemy and enemy of Allah. Continue reading

Once Upon a Time in Mogadishu

A peek into the “pleasant” colonial past of the world’s most dangerous city.

BY SOPHIA JONES | NOVEMBER 17, 2011

When the great Arab explorer Ibn Battuta landed on Mogadishu’s shores in 1331, he was greeted with a feast fit for a king. Hundreds of camels were slaughtered daily to feed the flourishing port city, where a man could eat for ten. The sultan, clad in silk and fine Jerusalem cloth, was followed by a procession of trumpets and colorful canopies upon which golden birds perched.

How times have changed in Somalia. Today, centuries of European colonization and political strife, coupled with interludes of devastating drought and flooding, have created a failed state that’s become a haven for lawlessness. For years, Somalia was passed between foreign powers: first the Portuguese, then the British, then the French and Italians. Upon its declaration of independence in 1960, the country’s artificially drawn borders proved incapable of anything resembling stability. Now, Somalia remains in a constant state of conflict.

Once known as the “pearl of the Indian Ocean,” tourists flocked by the plane-full until the country descended into civil unrest in the 1990s. Now the only visitors are aid workers and their heavily armed bodyguards. When a Canadian tourist landed in Mogadishu last year, immigration officials thought he was either a spy or insane.

Above, young foreigners enjoy a warm day at Lido Beach. Sydney Oats, a former Royal Air Force (RAF) electrical fitter who was stationed in Mogadishu in 1949, provided this photo, as well as several others. He told Foreign Policy that Lido Beach, with its white beaches and breathtaking view, was the best part of Mogadishu, where young soldiers spent their afternoons nearly every day. Until 1991, when President Siad Barre was overthrown by a coalition of warlords after 22 years in power, Lido Beach was a popular club scene. This week brought news that Somalis are finally returning to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean after years of deserted beaches. But this brief beach-going interlude may be short lived. With pirates patrolling the coastline and the terrorist network al Shabaab arming children with AK-47s, Mogadishu remains arguably the most dangerous city in the world. Continue reading

Kenya Seeks Arab Support Against AQ Linked Somali Terrorists

Monday, November 14, 2011

Somalia-KenyaKenya is calling for more support from Arab nations to help pursue al-Shabab terrorists who are carrying out attacks near the Kenya-Somalia border.

A top official in Kenya’s Foreign Ministry, Lindsay Kiptiness, says Kenya is trying to gain support from the Arab League and predominantly Muslim nations such as Turkey and Iran that have backed Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government.

Kenya’s military says it is working with TFG forces to eliminate Somalia-based al-Shabab terrorists near the Kenyan border.

Kenya recently launched its military operation in what it deemed an act of self-defense, following several cross-border attacks blamed on Somali militants.

The military says hundreds of al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab terrorists have been killed or wounded since the military incursion began. Five Kenyan soldiers have died.

Kiptiness also says Kenya will be approaching the U.N. Security Council to seek an expansion of the African Union peacekeeping mission, or AMISOM, to cover all of Somalia, not just the capital, Mogadishu.

Kenyan officials have said they will ask AMISOM and forces from Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government to help maintain the peace in southern Somalia when Kenyan troops eventually withdrawal. VoA