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Al-Shabaab militants kill 2 police officers in coastal Kenya.

Somali militant group Al-Shabaab on Tuesday killed two police officers and injured two others in Kenya’s coastal town of Lamu in its latest attack in the tourism resort region.

Coast Regional Police Commander Larry Kieng said the officers were escorting a convoy of six buses when they were ambushed along the Malindi Lamu highway.

Kieng said a group of heavily armed militants emerged from the forest and sprayed a police escort vehicle with bullets that had four occupants.

“During the shootout two officers were killed and two others injured. The officers were evacuated to Lamu hospital with serious bullet wounds,” Kieng told Xinhua by phone.

The police commander said no passenger was injured during the incident since the majority were Muslim.

“The militants demanded for passengers’ manifests that indicated that they were Muslims. They were spared after a Somali passenger pleaded with them to let the buses pass,” Kieng said.

The militants gave the passengers Jihad leaflets/CD cards before letting all the buses to proceed their destinations.

The attack came barely three days after police destroyed six Al-Shabaab camps in the vast Boni forest. During the operation weapons and medicine were recovered.

Kieng said a combined team of military and police are combing the forest to hunt down the militants.

Reports indicate that the militants are targeting both police and civilians within Lamu. The ongoing operation Linda Boni has reduced terrorist attacks in the coastal region.

KDF destroys six Shabaab camps in Lamu’s Boni Forest.

The Kenya Defence Forces has destroyed six Shabaab transit camps in the Boni Forest in Lamu County.

“They were camps formed by the terrorists as they planned to conduct attacks in various parts of Lamu,” said Boni Enclave Campaign director Joseph Kanyiri.

AMBUSH

He confirmed that security officers also recovered weapons, including AK-47 rifles, grenade-making tools, food and medicine in the camps.

Speaking to the Nation on Monday, Mr Kanyiri said an undisclosed number of Shabaab militants were killed during the ambush and bombing of their hideouts.

Others escaped with bullet wounds, he added.

Mr Kanyiri urged hospitals in Lamu, Tana River, Garissa, Kilifi and Mombasa counties to report to the police anyone seeking treatment from bullet wounds.

He said the operation was successful as it eliminated Al-Shabaab militants who had set base inside the dense forest.

LINDA BONI

In September 2015, the national government launched the ‘Linda Boni’ operation with the objective of flushing out the Al-Shabaab elite group Jaysh Al-Ayman from Boni Forest.

The militia group was said to have been operating from the forest since 2012 in retaliation to the deployment of Kenyan troops to Somalia to conduct in the Linda Nchi Operation.

Mr Kanyiri praised security agencies for being diligent and selfless while on their duty to rid Lamu and the neighbouring counties of Al-Shabaab.

He said with the constant bombings inside the forest, the militants could no longer hide there.

Mr Kanyiri urged Al-Shabaab returnees in Lamu to surrender to the police for rehabilitation and re-integration into the society. He added that the government amnesty for Al-Shabaab returnees was still ongoing.

Mr Kanyiri added that the crackdown on militants in the forest will continue until they are all eliminated.


Tuesday November 28, 2017

4 Heads of State already in the country for President Kenyatta’s inauguration.

Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Edgar Lungu Zambia, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo of Somalia and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn are among foreign leaders who are already in the country for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s and Deputy President William Ruto’s inauguration.

The four leaders were received at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Monday night by Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Amina Mohammed.

More leaders are expected to arrive Tuesday morning including the Prime Minister of the State of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu.

Thousands of Kenyans are already at the Safaricom Kasarani stadium with many in as early as 2.00am in the morning.

President Kenyatta and his deputy Ruto were cleared by the Supreme Court for swearing in on Monday last week when six judges dismissed petitions challenging the October 26 presidential election in a unanimous decision.

The disputed election season split the country along ethnic and regional lines, although political violence has not reached the scale of that which followed a 2007 poll when 1,100 were killed.

NASA leader Raila Odinga, denied the presidency for a fourth time this year, believes that he was cheated and the 72-year-old has refused to recognise the result.

He has promised to found a “third republic” — following independence from Britain in 1963 and a new constitution adopted in 2010 — as well as to continue a programme of protests and economic boycotts aimed at undermining Kenyatta’s “dictatorship”.

The current political crisis draws on a deep well of social, ethnic and geographic grievances in the country of around 48 million people.

In areas loyal to Odinga, there is a sense of having been ground down and discriminated against since independence.

The months of disruption and unrest, plus the holding of two separate elections, have badly affected the economy, hitting the poorest hardest while leaving the wealthy political elites relatively unharmed.

U.S. military says conducted air strike against ISIS in Somalia.

The U.S. military said on Monday it had carried out an air strike against Islamic State militants in northeast Somalia, killing one person.

Islamic State has been gathering recruits in the region, although experts say the scale of its force is unclear and it remains a small player compared to the al Shabaab group.

“In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces conducted an airstrike against ISIS, in northeastern Somalia on Nov. 27, killing one terrorist,” the U.S. Africa Command said in a statement.

Colonel Ali Abdi, a military officer in an area near the town of Qandala in the semi-autonomous Puntland region, said the strike took place in hills near the town.

“We heard a huge crash of air strike in the hilly areas of Dasaan remote area behind Qandala town this afternoon ” Abdi told Reuters from Dasaan.

“After the strike the IS militants ran away from there. We went to the scene and saw pieces of a dead body.”

Last month, a group loyal to Islamic State seized a small port town in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region, the first town it has taken since emerging a year ago.

The group, which refers to itself simply as Islamic State, is a rival to the larger al Shabaab force, which is linked to Islamic State’s rival al Qaeda and once controlled much of Somalia.

Early this month, the U.S. military carried out its first air strike against Islamic State militants, killing several.

Last week, Somalia’s government said it had requested a U.S. air strike that killed scores of suspected militants to help pave the way for an upcoming ground offensive against al Shabaab.

Earlier this year, the White House granted the U.S. military broader authority to carry out strikes in Somalia against al Shabaab.
 

–Reuters

Trump is poised to bomb Somalia more in his first year than Obama did in eight.

The U.S. killed a single ISIS soldier with an airstrike in Somalia on Monday. It was the 29th strike in the country since Donald Trump took office, according to figures provided to VICE News by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and the 30th on the East African country in 2017 (one was launched under President Obama in January).

Monday’s air attack comes less than a week after a single airstrike by a U.S. manned aircraft killed over 100 al Shabaab militants in a training camp 125 miles northwest from the country’s capital Mogadishu.

With 29 airstrikes on Somalia in just 10 months, Trump is now within arm’s reach of Barack Obama’s eight-year total of 34.

“The strikes are coming quite frequently now,” Jack Serle, an expert in drone war at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, told VICE News. “This is unprecedented for Somalia.”

One reason for the dramatic increase: Trump has made the process of green-lighting strikes much easier by loosening restrictions meant to protect civilians, Serle said.

In 2013, Obama put rules in place that required an elaborate sign-off process by the White House before an attack could be launched outside of an active war zone. But in March, Trump cut through those precautions by declaring swaths of Somalia to be areas of “active hostilities,” according to the Bureau, thus laying the groundwork for an aggressive escalation.

The strikes have mostly focused on the al Qaeda-linked militant group al Shabaab, but in recent months has extended to ISIS, which maintains a small number of militants in the East African country.

Trump has clearly made it easier for U.S. commanders to launch strikes, but it’s not exactly clear why they’ve decided to launch so many, Serle said.

“Why they’re doing it now remains a mystery,” he said.

Horrific shooting on elderly woman, outside Mogadishu.

Unidentified men armed with pistols killed a 70-old woman outside the capital Mogadishu, KNN reports on Tuesday.

The elderly woman whose name was identified as Siteey Mohamed Aden was shot several times in the head and chest while being inside her home around Garasbaaley neighborhood, witnesses said Tuesday.

No arrests have been made for the shooting which had happened on Monday evening.

Police say investigation underway on the accdident.

The armed militants, Al-Shabaab group is known with these kinds of malicious killings on the innocent people.

Washington’s chicken-and-egg war in Somalia.

Somalia is, for most Americans, known only as the location of the disastrous 1993 Battle of Mogadishu depicted in 2002’s Black Hawk Down. But the east African country has also become the site of Washington’s latest escalation of the amorphous war on terror.

U.S. airstrikes and boots on the ground have dramatically increased in 2017. This is happening without any public debate, congressional authorization, or the most basic argument from the White House as to how, exactly, this military intervention is obligatory. To all appearances, it is a new theater of war without end or focus, undertaken without due consideration of necessity, unintended consequences, or realistic prospects of conclusion.

As the U.S. is currently fighting at least seven foreign wars, depending on how you count them, a review of the facts may be in order here. Somalia is about half the size of Texas but rather more sparsely populated. It boasts probable untapped oil reserves and the longest coastline on the African continent, a coast strategically valuable for its proximity to Gulf states like Saudi Arabia.

The nation’s post-colonial history has been marked by a military dictatorship fostered, as military historian Ret. Col. Andrew Bacevich notes, by Cold War-era “Soviet-American competition for Somali affections.” That contest solidified in the form of both superpowers funneling weapons into the fragile state to satisfy the autocrat’s lust for firepower. When the dictatorship finally broke down at the Cold War’s end, a United Nations coalition intervened in the ensuinginternal conflict. That U.S.-led intervention under the Clinton administration reached its tragic climax in the Battle of Mogadishu.

The aftermath of the battle and the public uproar it produced led to drawdowns of American military presence in Somalia, but in retrospect, that change turned out to be more pause than reset. U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) began bombing Somalia in 2007, and independent observers haverecorded U.S. strikes on the country in all but two years since.

The last three years have seen a marked increase in reported strikes as local militants began to declare allegiance to the Islamic State. Where from 2007 to 2014 the busiest year had just three bombings, 2015 through 2017 all have seen double digits, peaking at 26 this year to date. That means more than one-third of the United States’ entire post-9/11 bombing campaign (62 confirmed strikes) in Somalia happened in 2017. Even if we limit our count to strikes AFRICOM has announced (18 in 2017), we see the same dramatic upward trend on a slightly smaller scale.

And then there are the ground troops. As Politico documented, the “number of U.S. military forces in Somalia has more than doubled this year to over 500 people” — there were just 50 Americans there as recently as early April — “as the Pentagon has quietly posted hundreds of additional special operations personnel to advise local forces in pockets of Islamic militants around the country.” The nature of the intervention is reportedly changing, too, with a degree of mission creep setting in as “advise and assist” transforms intobattlefield engagement. These 500 troops are the largest U.S. presence in Somalia since the events of Black Hawk Down. While the Pentagon denied toPolitico that this tenfold increase could be called a “build-up,” it is difficult to see how it could be labeled otherwise.

It is even more difficult to see how this escalation is justified, what concrete benefit it will yield for U.S. security, how much it might cost, or when it will ever end.

IDPs who fled al-Shabab in southern Kenya fear returning home.

Kenya’s military says it has pushed Somalia-based al-Shabab fighters out of Boni Forest that lies along the border between the two countries.

The armed group has used the area as a hideout from which to launch attacks.

But people who’ve been displaced by the fighting are scared to go back home, fearing attacks by herders living inside the forest.

Al Jazeera’s Catherine Soi reports from Witu, southern Kenya.

Anti-terrorism Muslim alliance meets in Saudi capital.

A meeting of the defense ministers of a Saudi-led anti-terrorism alliance of Muslim countries kicked off in Saudi capital Riyadh on Sunday.

Held under the theme “Allied Against Terrorism”, the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) meeting was opened by Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohamed bin Salman.

The meeting “will send a strong message about the importance of coordination against terrorism,” bin Salman told participants.

The defense ministers are expected to discuss means of fighting terrorism and drying up its finances.

The 40-member bloc was launched by Saudi Arabia in late 2015 with a view to fighting terrorism. It includes countries as Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia and Egypt.

Sunday’s meeting marks the “actual start” of the the military alliance and coordination against extremism and terrorism. 

A declaration issued by a recent Arab-U.S.-Islamic summit in Riyadh in May unveiled that the alliance member states were ready to deploy 34,000 troops with a view to supporting operations against terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria. 

Somalia appointes new defense minister.

Somali Prime Minister Hassan Khaire names his defense minister following consultation with the president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo,KNN reports on Sunday.

Mohamed Mursal Sheikh was named as the new defense minister after former minister was resigned nearly a month ago.

Thegovernment is preparing to launch a massive military operations against the hardline Islamist militant, Al-Shabaab group.