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Kenyan police launch manhunt for al-Shabab recruiters

KILIFI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan police have launched a manhunt for three al-Shabab recruiters who are behind a syndicate luring youths to join the terror gang in Somalia.

Malindi divisional police commander Matawa Muchangi said on Tuesday evening alleged the three coordinated a plan to recruit the recently rescued 13 youths unknowingly to join the al-Shabab in Somalia.

Muchangi said the returnees aged between 18 to 38 years who were rescued by Kenya Defense Force (KDF) on Monday were reportedly lured by a resident in the Coastal county of Malindi.

“They were on Tuesday flown from Kiunga in a KDF chopper and brought to Malindi and are currently being held at the Malindi Police station pending to be reunited with their families,” Muchangi said by phone.

Two among the 13 are reportedly from Bargoni in Hindi area in Lamu County while the remaining 11 are from Malindi.

Kilifi County Commissioner Magu Mutindika said the youth had been recruited into the militant group where they are said to have been tortured and subjected to different extremist activities.

The police said the returnees were recruited on March 26 and KDF managed to rescue them on April 29 after some reported to their families and the matter brought to the attention of security personnel.

The East African nation has warned that attacks as threatened by the Somalia-based terrorist group could affect the country’s risk profile, limiting the number of new investments being made especially by foreign investors.

The authorities have also warned that the attacks could further reduce the number of tourism visitors, affecting the planned attraction of more than 2 million tourists targeted in the next five years.



UN expert says troops’ drawback in Somalia should consider security

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- A UN human rights expert has promised to continue urging the international community for the need to ensure that any drawdown of African Union forces in Somalia should be based on realistic timelines and security conditions.

Bahame Tom Nyanduga, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC)’s Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, stressed that the Africa Union troops are playing critical role for peace and reconciliation in Somalia.

Nyandega said in a statement issued on Wednesday by the AU mission that human rights in Somalia depend on the existence of a stable state and the strengthening of law and order, hence the critical role played by AMISOM.

He lauded AMISOM for strengthening its human right component following the recruitment of a number of protection officers, in particular for women and children protection.

During his visit to Somalia, Nyanduga met with AMISOM officials as part of on-going consultations with human rights stakeholders in Somalia in his fifth mission to the country. 


AU urges commitment of Somali stakeholders for country’s transitional plan

ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) has urged all Somali stakeholders to fully commit themselves towards the effective implementation of the Somalia Transition Plan that seeks to transfer security responsibilities from AU troops to the country’s own security forces.

The AU Peace and Security Council has commended the Federal Government of Somalia for finalizing the Plan, with the support of the AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which demonstrates the ownership and readiness of the country to take over primary security responsibility.

The council endorsed the Transitional Plan, which includes a timeframe for the transition of security responsibilities from AMISOM to the Somali National Security Forces, as well as their capacity building, according to an AU statement on Wednesday.

“The full implementation of the Somalia Transition Plan is dependent on fully addressing the challenges raised by the Operational Readiness Assessment of regional forces, completion of discussions on the Somali troop generation, training, integration, accommodation, equipment and logistical support for the tasks related to the transition,” the statement said.

The Council has also called for the AU member states and the partners to provide the requisite funding support for the implementation of the Transition Plan.

It has emphasized the urgent need for streamlined and coordinated capacity building for the Somalia National Security Forces, particularly the training support provided to the Army, with clear distribution of roles and responsibilities among stakeholders, including AMISOM.

The Council has noted the importance of an orderly and gradual transfer of security responsibilities from AMISOM to the Somalia National Security Forces in order not to compromise the gains already made.

It has also emphasized that the Transition Plan should be a living document that should be regularly monitored and reviewed, and upon need, adjusted in light of emerging circumstances and prevailing security and political situations on the ground.


ICRC calls for safe release of abducted staff in Somalia

MOGADISHU, (Xinhua) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Thursday called for the safe release of its staff member who was abducted in the restive Somali capital Mogadishu on Wednesday evening.

Daniel O’Malley, ICRC’s deputy head of delegation for Somalia, said armed men entered the agency’s compound at around 8pm and abducted the German nurse.

“We are deeply concerned about the safety of our colleague. She is a nurse who was working every day to save lives and improve the health of some of Somalia’s most vulnerable people,” O’Malley said in a statement.

The charity said it is in contact with various authorities to try and secure her release, noting that it’s not appropriate to provide any additional information at this stage.

“We are calling for her immediate and unconditional release,” Crystal Wells, ICRC spokeswoman told Xinhua on Thursday.

Security forces sealed off the compound immediately after the abduction and have already started investigations into the incident in Wadajir district.

Sources said the private security guards who manned the compound when the incident took place were arrested.

Attacks against humanitarian workers operating in the Horn of Africa nation are common and have increased in the recent past in the country which has been torn asunder by factional fighting since 1991 but has recently made progress towards stability.

The latest abduction came a day after a Somali aid worker was shot dead by unknown gunmen in the main market in Mogadishu on Tuesday.

It also comes barely three months after a Ugandan working for UNICEF was killed by a former security guard in the organization’s office the same area.

The Islamist group, al-Shabab which is fighting to topple the Western-backed government, has been targeting aid workers for political gain, sometimes demanding ransom in order to free the hostages.

The humanitarian community says the volatile security situation continues to impact on civilian lives and create a challenging environment for the delivery of humanitarian assistance.


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