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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenyan vulnerability to al-Shabab attacks remain
high despite constant and increasing vigilance

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya should be prepared for a prolonged warfare with the Somalia-based al-Shabab militants whose capacity to evolve despite sustained military onslaught is profound, experts said on Wednesday.

The experts who spoke in the wake of an attack at a business complex in Nairobi carried out by al-Shabab militants, said that containing threats posed by terrorists is a challenge that Kenya must be ready to confront for the long haul.

George Musamali, a Nairobi-based security analyst, said the presence of Kenyan troops inside Somalia where they have intensified onslaught against al-Shabab remains the chief motivation behind the militants’ frequent attacks targeting civilians and disciplined forces in the East African nation.

"As usual, al-Shabab would always want to strike Kenya to bolster their propaganda war against the so called ‘enemy’ who has deployed its troops to Somalia to vanquish the terrorist network," Musamali remarked.

Kenya deployed its troops to Somalia in October 2011 to help vanquish the al-Shabab militants whose frequent attacks against civilians was a threat to tourism and national security in the East Africa’s major economy.

The al-Qaida linked militant group has in the last eight years carried out a series of attacks on the Kenyan soil to protest the presence of the country’s troops in its strong hold of southern Somalia.

Musamali regretted that Kenya has borne the brunt of al-Shabab attacks since it became part of the African Union troops fighting a virulent and highly versatile armed group whose overriding goal is to establish "fiefdom" in Somalia.

"We should expect al-Shabab to continue targeting our troops or civilians as they seek to establish their own version of republic inside Somalia and beyond governed by extremist ideologies," said Musamali.

Kenya was in the global spotlight after a prolonged lull when al-Shabab fighters attacked the upscale 14 Riverside Drive business complex that houses a chain hotel dusitD2 and offices for a number of multinational companies.

The attack that claimed 14 innocent lives bore eerie semblance of a similar one carried out by al-Shabab in Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall in September 2013 where more than 60 civilians died.

To prove its resilience in the face of sustained military onslaught in its strongholds of southern Somalia, al-Shabab has managed to stage a series of attacks in Kenya.

Though Kenya has upgraded its surveillance infrastructure to deter large scale attack by al-Shabab in the last three years, the militants have managed to hit soft targets like villages and schools along the border with Somalia.

Mwenda Mbijiwe, an ex-soldier and security consultant, said that Kenyan security apparatus should not underestimate the capacity of al-Shabab to reinvent itself and carry out deadly attacks despite losing territory and dozens of high ranking commanders.

"The attack at the Dusit complex in Nairobi was a testimony that al-Shabab can still conduct attacks inside the Kenyan soil despite high levels of vigilance," said Mbijiwe.

This armed group is versatile and seems determined to achieve its aim in Somalia and across the Horn of Africa region, he added.

He noted that al-Shabab has a growing army of local sympathizers and foot soldiers who have made its incursion into the Kenyan territory possible.

Werunga Simiyu, a Nairobi-based security expert, said that al-Shabab has retooled its military operations to remain relevant despite losing its top commanders and sources of funds following aggressive onslaught by foreign troops.

"The al-Shabab have suffered heavy losses in the last two to three years hence their inability to launch massive urban warfare like the one they carried out at the Westgate shopping mall in 2013," Simiyu said.

"But we should not be complacent since al-Shabab has a loose network of guerrilla fighters that can be deployed to big cities like Nairobi to conduct low scale attacks," he added.
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UPDATES:

Death toll rises to 21 in Kenya hotel attack

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The number of people killed when terrorists struck an upscale hotel and business complex in Nairobi on Tuesday has risen to 21 after six more bodies were recovered and one injured police officer died in hospital, the police said on Wednesday night.

Joseph Boinnet, inspector general of National Police Service, said at a press conference that a police officer who was involved in the rescue operations succumbed to injuries in hospital while six more bodies were recovered from the scene following forensic work by security officers.

He said 28 people were admitted in various hospitals in Nairobi and confirmed that five terrorists were "eliminated."

The police chief said the 21 victims killed during the attack include 16 Kenyans, one Briton, one American and three unidentified persons of African descent.

He said subsequent investigations by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation have resulted in the arrest of two key suspects believed to have facilitated the attack and are in custody helping the security officers with investigations.

"We wish to reiterate our appeal to all Kenyans to continue cooperating with the police and security agents in their joint efforts to counter terrorism as well as all forms of crime," Boinnet said.

His remarks came after Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta revealed in an address to the nation on Wednesday morning that 14 civilians had been killed and hundreds rescued in the attack at DusitD2 Hotel complex located on 14 Riverside Drive in the district of Westlands in Nairobi.

The Kenya Red Cross said on its Twitter account on Wednesday evening that 19 people are still unaccounted for following the terror attack.

The organization said that a total of 94 cases of missing persons were reported but 75 have been closed positively as of 8:30 p.m. local time.

Somali terror group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they killed 47 people inside DusitD2 Hotel, part of a Thai-owned international chain that appeared to be the chief target of the attackers.

The militants issued a statement online on Wednesday evening, saying the Nairobi attack was a response to the "witless remarks" of U.S. President Donald Trump and his declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and to the "systematic prosecution of Muslims in Palestine."

Kenya is one of the strongest allies of the United States in Africa.
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Kenyan police arrest two key suspects in hotel attack

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan police said Wednesday they are holding two key suspects in connection with the attack on a luxury hotel and office complex in Nairobi that left 14 civilians killed and several others injured.

George Kinoti, director of Directorate of Criminal Investigation under the National Police Service, said the two were arrested in Eastleigh and Ruaka residential estates in Nairobi, hours after security forces ended 18-hour siege at the dusitD2 complex on 14 Riverside Drive.

Kinoti who was involved in the security operation at the hotel said one of the attackers lived in Ruaka.

"The suspects are providing good information on the incident.

"They had contacts with the slain men," he said, noting that they were looking for more suspects into the incident.

The arrest came a few hours after President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the terrorist attack at the 14 Riverside Drive over, saying security officers killed all the terrorists.

Kenyatta did not mention the number of the attackers who had stormed the business complex that houses hotels and multinational companies.

The president who had earlier convened a national security council meeting said the government will dedicate efforts to rooting out terrorism that has remained a grave national security threat.

"Throughout the breadth of Kenya and in our immediate neighborhood, multiple security efforts are underway to detect, deter, disrupt and defeat terrorist operatives or groups," said Kenyatta.

Somali terrorist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the Tuesday attack.
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United States assures enhanced partnership with
Kenya to fight extremism after Nairobi attack

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The United States on Wednesday vowed to enhance its partnership with Kenya in the fight against extremism, a day after terrorists killed 14 civilians and injured several others at an upmarket business complex in Nairobi.

Robert Godec, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, condemned in the strongest terms the horrific attack at the DusitD2 complex which has a luxury hotel and an office complex housing several multinational companies.

"The United States stands firmly with the Kenyan government and people as they confront violent extremism and work to bring terrorists to justice," Godec said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

He said Washington remains in close communication with Kenyan leaders and is assisting in Kenyan operations.

He also confirmed that one American citizen was killed.

"We are assisting the family of the victim and other U.S. citizens who were affected.

"We offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of all those who were killed and we wish a quick, full recovery to all those injured," he said.

The statement came after Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta revealed in an address to the nation Wednesday that 14 civilians had been killed and hundreds rescued in the attack at DusitD2 Hotel complex located on 14 Riverside Drive in the district of Westlands in Nairobi.
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Kenyan Muslim leaders condemn terrorist attack at Nairobi business complex

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Top organ representing Muslim leaders in Kenya on Wednesday condemned terrorist attack at the upmarket Dusit business complex located in Nairobi’s Westlands district where 14 civilians died.

"We strongly condemn the barbaric and criminal tactics of perpetuating acts of violence against innocent people.

"We reiterate that these actions are unacceptable, immoral and inconsistent with any human values and ethos," said the Muslim leaders in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The leaders pledged to rally behind local and global efforts to eradicate terrorism, terming it an evil that transcends religious and ethnic barriers.

The Muslim leaders also appealed to the authorities to conduct swift and targeted probe aimed at unmasking individuals or groups behind planning, financing and execution of the latest terrorist attack in Kenya.

"We call upon and support the effort of security and investigative organs to do a thorough and comprehensive investigation in order to bring culprits to book," said the Muslim leaders.

They appealed for calm, unity and sobriety as the country embarked on healing after the terrorist attack in the upscale 14 River Side Drive that houses the high-end dusitD2 Hotel and offices for multinational companies.

Somalia-based militants al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the Tuesday terrorist attack at the business complex that is regarded as a premier destination for high-end commerce and dining.
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African Union strongly condemns terrorist attack in Kenya

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat on Wednesday strongly condemned the terrorist attack against innocent civilians in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, on Tuesday.

The chairperson of the AU commission "condemns in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attack against innocent civilians in Nairobi, Kenya," said an AU statement released early Wednesday.

"He expresses his deepest condolences to the families of the victims, and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured," said the statement.

Faki further stressed that "this cowardly attack, once again, underlines the imperative for renewed and reinvigorated efforts to combat terrorism throughout the continent."

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed on Wednesday that 14 people were killed and several others injured after a deadly attack on a hotel and business complex frequented by foreigners in the country’s capital.

The chairperson of the 55-member continental union also commended "the swift response by the security forces of Kenya," and expressed the solidarity of the AU with the government and people of Kenya.

Faki further reiterated the AU’s commitment to continue working with its member states and partners in the fight against terrorism throughout the continent, as well as to pursue its efforts to stabilize the situation in Somalia and the fight against al-Shabab, through its Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

The Somalia-based terrorist group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The group has been targeting Kenya-Somalia border areas and killing innocent citizens since Kenyan soldiers entered Somalia in 2011 to secure the two countries’ shared border.
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Members of UN Security Council condemn terrorist attack in Nairobi

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- The members of the UN Security Council on Wednesday condemned "in the strongest possible terms" Tuesday’s terrorist attack in Nairobi, Kenya.

The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the victims and their families, as well as to the people and Government of Kenya. They wished a speedy recovery to those injured, according to a press statement issued Wednesday morning by the Security Council.

In the statement, they paid tribute to Kenya’s role in the fight against terrorism particularly in its role in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in the struggle against Islamist militant group al-Shabab.

"The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security."

They underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice and urged all states, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Government of Kenya and all other relevant authorities in this regard, it said.

They reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the need for all states to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist attacks, according to the statement.

At least 14 people were killed in a terrifying attack at a hotel complex in Nairobi on Tuesday. The hours-long assault, launched by heavily armed militants, targeted the DusitD2 compound, an upmarket cluster of shops and hotel facilities in the Kenyan capital.
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Rwanda strongly condemns terrorist attack in Kenyan capital Nairobi

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- The Rwandan government on Wednesday strongly condemned the terrorist attack at an upmarket business complex in Kenyan capital city Nairobi that claimed 14 lives.

Rwanda extends its deepest condolences to the bereaved families, those injured in the attack, and stands united with them as well as the Kenyan government during this time of grief, the Rwandan foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Rwandan government will continue to stand firmly with Kenya in its fight against terrorism, said the statement.

Al-Shabab militants on Tuesday stormed the 14 Riverside Drive located in Nairobi’s Westlands area and held office workers and hotel guests hostage.

The siege that lasted about 18 hours ended on Wednesday morning after Kenya’s elite security forces neutralized the assailants.
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Portuguese government strongly condemn Nairobi terror attack

LISBON Portugal (Xinhua) -- The Portuguese government strongly condemned on Wednesday the terrorist attack at an upmarket business complex in Kenyan capital Nairobi, which has left 14 civilians dead.

In a statement, the Portuguese government expressed its full solidarity with Kenya and conveyed their most sincere condolences to the bereaved families and wished the rapid recovery of those wounded in the attack on Tuesday.

Kenya is a central partner in the fight against terrorism that has been particularly devastating in a region of the East Africa, which had suffered similar and cowardly attacks in 2013 and 2015, also claimed by Al-Shabaab.

Portugal will continue to support, within the international community and European Union, for the Kenyan authorities in this framework, contributing to peace and stability in the region, the statement said.
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Somalia government strongly condemn attack in Kenya

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The Somali government has strongly condemned the attack at a hotel in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement issued in Mogadishu on Tuesday evening that Mogadishu expressed its strong condemnation of the attack.

"This heinous act of terror, which routinely targets innocent people, once again reveals the hideous face of terrorism," the ministry said.

The Somali government extended its condolences to the families of the victims and wishes speedy recovery of the injured.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed on Wednesday 14 civilians were killed and several others injured after a deadly attack on a hotel and business complex on Tuesday in Nairobi.
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Kenyan leader will reactivate war against terror as 14 killed in hotel attack

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday vowed to reactivate the war against terrorism in the wake of an attack by Somalia-based al-Shabab militants at a business complex in Nairobi that claimed 14 innocent lives.

Kenyatta, who spoke at a televised address to the nation, pledged to inject vitality in the country’s security infrastructure in order to defeat terrorist networks responsible for killing innocent civilians.

"In the coming days, weeks and months, we shall continue the never ending work of strengthening our system.

"From the means available to the security services, and judicial arms, we will continue taking every step to making our nation inhabitable to terrorist groups and networks," said Kenyatta.

Al-Shabab militants on Tuesday stormed the 14 Riverside Drive located in the upmarket Nairobi’s Westlands area and held office workers and hotel guests hostage.

The siege that lasted about 18 hours ended on Wednesday morning after Kenya’s elite security forces neutralized the assailants.

A multi-agency security team carried out the operation to flush out the heavily armed attackers while evacuating people trapped at the swanky business complex.

Kenyatta, who had earlier convened a national security council meeting, said the government will rededicate efforts to root out terrorism that has remained a grave national security threat.

"Throughout the breadth of Kenya and in our immediate neighborhood, multiple security efforts are underway to detect, deter, disrupt and defeat terrorist operatives or groups," said Kenyatta.

"We are on the highest alert and shall remain so," he added and urged national leaders and citizens to set aside sectarian differences and rally behind efforts to stamp out terrorism.

"Our leaders should speak out strongly, as we pursue the owners, facilitators and sympathizers of these groups knowing that they are an enemy that we will pursue and offer no relief," said Kenyatta.

He assured local citizens and foreign nationals that Kenyan security forces were on high alert to ward off terrorist attacks.

Somali terror group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the Tuesday attack, saying they killed 47 people inside DusitD2 Hotel, part of a Thai-owned international chain that appeared to be the chief target of the attackers.

The latest came three years after a deadly attack by the militants on Kenya’s military base in Somalia’s El-Adde town, where dozens of Kenyan soldiers were killed.
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East African bloc calls for joint efforts to curb terrorism after Kenya attack

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- East African bloc IGAD on Wednesday condemned the attack on a hotel and an office complex in Nairobi, calling for joint efforts to eliminate the scourge of terrorism from the region.

Mahboub Maalim, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) executive secretary, also expressed confidence that the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of the attack will be brought to justice as soon as possible.

"Such barbaric attacks must not be allowed to weaken our collective determination to eliminate the scourge of terrorism from our region," Maalim said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed on Wednesday 14 civilians were killed and several others injured after a deadly attack on a hotel and business complex on Tuesday in Nairbi.

Maalim expressed the regional bloc’s heartfelt condolences to the families of the bereaved and wished quick and full recovery to the injured.

He reaffirmed IGAD’s solidarity with the people and Kenyan government in their fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

The official also lauded the gallantry of Kenyan security forces and emergency services for their swift response to the attack, noting that their action helped save many lives.
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Ten al-Shabab fighters killed in southern Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Ten al-Shabab militants have been killed on Tuesday evening in a fierce fighting in Afgoye town in the country’s southern part of Lower Shebelle region, officials said on Wednesday.

Lower Shabelle region governor Mohamed Ibrahim Barre told journalists that the attack came after al-Shabab militants had attempted to overrun Afgoye, which is 30 km northwest of the Somali capital Mogadishu, but they were overpowered.

"They (al-Shabab) tried to attack the town but our forces were able to subdue them, killing 10 of their fighters and injured 10 others. We have lost two of our soldiers," the governor said.

He added that they are in full control of the town, vowing more operations against the militants in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia.

Residents in the agricultural town of Afgoye said they heard gunshots on Tuesday night.

"There was huge gunfire at the town and we felt panic during the gunfight," Isaq Abdi, a resident, told Xinhua.

The terror group al-shabab did not comment on the incident but the al-Qaida affiliated group conducted a deadly attack on Tuesday at a hotel in the neighboring Kenya, killing 14 civilians.
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SEE ALSO:

United Nations chief condemns 'al shabaab' terrorism in Nairobi

President Kenyatta confirms 'Terror attack is now officially over'

.
FURTHER READING:

Kenya security agencies under scrutiny following latest attack on a hotel compound

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