Uhuru Kenyatta Has Failed to Tame Insecurity in Kenya Part 3

Mandera attacksAs Kenyans come to terms with the painful outcome of the terrorist attack at Garissa University College on 02 April 2015, many wonder why the Government of Uhuru Kenyatta did not deploy the elite Recce Squad of the General Service Unit (GSU) immediately, since they are trained for close-quarters fighting. The Squad has now been allocated two helicopters for future operations: too little too late. President Uhuru Kenyatta should have taken political responsibility and resigned for all the lives that have been lost due to terrorism, since the Westgate attack in 2013.

As noted in Part II of this series, Uhuru Kenyatta has never been to Mandera or Mpeketoni to show compassion for the brutal murders by al-Shabaab in 2014. Even if the victims were non-residents, he should have by now met the local community leaders to reassure them of better security and cohesion with other tribes. For two days on June 15-17, the Shabaab members went on a killing spree for hours in Mpeketoni-Lamu, and mainly targeted the helpless members of Uhuru’s ethnic Kikuyu community. It is important to note that the North-Eastern and Coastal regions of Kenya which are dominated by the Somali and Muslim communities have been marginalized historically, and harbor bitterness due to socio-economic disparities. They feel that over the years, each ruling government has treated them like second class citizens. Mandera County for instance, began constructing its first tarmac road in 2014.

It is a fact that al-Shabaab is composed of indigenous Kenyan members and sympathizers who may not necessarily be from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. For example, a Kenyan man of Somali ethnicity identified as Abdirahim Abdullahi who graduated with a law degree from the University of Nairobi in 2013, was one of the killers in the Garissa massacre. His father, a chief in Mandera County, reported that Abdirahim had disappeared for one year to possibly join al-Shabaab in Somalia.

In October 2011, the then 28-year old Elgiva Bwire Oliacha alias Mohamed Seif, was jailed for life by a Nairobi court, for being involved in a grenade attack at the OTC bus stage, which caused serious harm to two Kenyan men. The state prosecutor handling his case mentioned that Bwire had supervised and directed the attack. He converted from Christianity to Islam in 2005, then went to Somalia in 2010, where according to court records, he received training by al-Shabaab on how to attack using firearms and ammunition. He returned to Kenya in August 2011, and recruited at least two men to join terrorist activities. Bwire hails from Budalang’i constituency in Busia County, which is part of the Luhya community. The Jubilee government is therefore aware of Kenyans who are members of al-Shabaab, but due to corruption (bribery for freedom when arrested), poor intelligence and evidence gathering, many terror suspects are never brought to book.

Jubilee government lies and propaganda

westgate

Ms. Tabitha Mutuku, a Kenyan woman interviewed recently by the BBC, said her late son who studied at Garissa University College, told her in 2014 that al-Shabaab had sworn to destroy the institution. Additionally, media reports indicate that the principal of Garissa Teachers Training College had asked the students to go home on March 31, 2015 because some strangers suspected to be terrorists, had been spotted in Garissa town. If such information was already floating around, why did the Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery lie that they had been caught unawares?

Since October 2011, Kenyan military troops have been in Somalia to “push back” al-Shabaab that had been attacking and kidnapping tourists along the Coastal region of the country. Elgiva Bwire whose case has been mentioned above, threw grenades at the OTC bus stage in Nairobi just two weeks after the Kenyan troops had invaded Somalia. He told investigators: “If they killed some of our members in Somalia, I had to kill some civilians here. It was tit for tat.” The Kenyan Government must go back to his case and ask why he, who is not a Somali by origin, had committed that act.

According to Reverend Wellington Mutiso, the head of Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, “It is the recent coverts who [are] being used to bomb churches. It is not members of the Somali, Boran, or Swahili communities, which have many Muslims, but the other tribes which have been known to follow Christianity, like the Luo, Kikuyu, or Luhya.” In 2012, Fredrick Nzwili wrote in the Christian Science Monitor that: “Al Shabab, a militant Islamist group with ties to Al Qaeda, is no longer relying on its traditional base of Somali or Swahili Muslims. Instead, the group is recruiting a new multi-ethnic band of recruits, many of whom are former Christians, making it more difficult to identify would be attackers.”

On April 06, 2015 the Kenyan Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed was interviewed about the Garissa massacre by Ms. Christiane Amanpour on CNN. To the utter shock of world viewers, she fumbled with words and became irrelevant, veering off the reality faced by survivors concerning the slow security response in Garissa. Accounts from the survivors and family members who are undergoing trauma do not match her stupid damage control on TV that was full of lies. Kenyans are doomed with such leaders.

Proxy war and charcoal trade

Mpeketoni attacksThe United Nations (UN) has investigated various sources of financing al-Shabaab and a lucrative one was found to be in the export of charcoal from Somalia to the Gulf region. Although the UN banned charcoal exports in 2012, al-Shabaab still makes around USD 25 million from the overall sale of USD 384 million from ‘taxing’ transporters and ‘shareholders’. A piece titled “A charred harvest” in the Economist Oct 11th 2014 noted that: “The UN investigators claim, in a report presented to the UN Security Council, that profits from Kismayo’s exports are divided between rebels, the region’s government and members of the Kenyan army—which has guarded the port since its capture from the Shabab in 2012.” The bounty is part of what pays for the import of weapons from Yemen into Somalia, and eventually into Kenya to kill innocent citizens.

In July 2014, the Gem Constituency Member of Parliament (MP) Jakoyo Midiwo, who belongs to the CORD Opposition alliance, claimed in Parliament that it was public knowledge Majority Leader in the National Assembly of Kenya, Aden Duale, was part of the charcoal trade in Somalia. Duale is also the MP for Garissa Township Constituency in Garissa County, and comes from the Audaq of the Talamooge sub-clan, which is part of the larger Ogaden clan. Kenya’s most wanted man, (with a bounty of KES 20 million on his head), Dulyadin Gamadhere alias Mohammed Kuno who is an al-Shabaab leader, is a Kenyan national also from Duale’s Ogaden clan. Uhuru’s Government has never commented on Midiwo’s allegation.

In July 1993, two Kenyans working with Reuters television, Hosea Maina a photographer, and Anthony Macharia, a soundman, were beaten, stoned and stabbed to death by an angry mob in Mogadishu, Somalia, alongside two Western photographers when they had been invited to inspect the damage caused by an aerial attack by the UN, on a rebel command post which had killed more than 70 Somalis. Does Uhuru Kenyatta know whom he is fighting in the name of al-Shabaab? Is Kenya fighting a proxy war? Does Uhuru have an exit strategy from Somalia?

As long as Uhuru and his extremely rich and corrupt cronies continue to marginalize the North-Eastern and Coastal regions economically, Kenya will remain a breeding ground for al-Shabaab extremists. The Recce Squad members were paid KES 500 (around USD 5) only per person for lunch, to undertake the risky job of eliminating the militants in Garissa. Further, the squad members have been reduced to guarding the big-bellied politicians and other good-for-nothing Kenyan VIPs, instead of being put into good use to protect Kenyans who pay heavy taxes to maintain Kenyatta’s corrupt government that does not care for their lives. Meanwhile, the Kenyan Members of Parliament earn more than USD 15,000 per month and Cabinet Secretaries have a monthly house allowance of KES 200,000 per month, beside their almost KES 1 million monthly salary. On average, a Kenyan worker earns around USD 1,500 per year. In Kenya, the rich get richer at the expense of the poor taxpayer. Uhuru Kenyatta should ask himself, why then, would a Kenyan youth not become radicalized? TUMECHOKA!

Jared Odero

24 comments

  • This is propaganda even before uhuru became president this alshabab were stil there killing people over the world so let them stop their hatred politics nd let our president work In peace without pressue of called politics coz they wsnt other people to rule our country bt nothing is going to change. Uhuru wil continue to be our president until God says is enough nt because of their accuses for no reasons.

  • Shabaab killings

    Could things get worse?

    Mass murder by terrorists exposes a host of defects in Kenya’s ruling establishment

    Apr 8th 2015 | NAIROBI | Middle East and Africa

    DAISY ONYANGO, aged 20, hid from the gunmen for 12 hours as they went from dormitory to dormitory at Garissa University, in north-eastern Kenya, killing her fellow students by the score. From a window she could spot Kenyan soldiers. Why, she asked herself, were they not coming to save her?

    As dusk fell that day, April 2nd, they finally stormed the residence. Within minutes, they had shot dead the students’ tormentors. Apparently only four-strong, they were members of the Shabab, a fanatical Islamist group that seeks to rule over Somalia and that has terrorised neighbouring Kenya because the government in Nairobi has been fighting it, in both Somalia and in Kenya. Garissa is a dusty little town in a poor ethnic-Somali area 145 kilometres (90 miles) from Kenya’s border with Somalia. Most of the students at the new university are, like Ms Onyango, from other parts of the country.

    For the whole day, she and others had listened to the gunmen goading and giggling as they tortured and slaughtered her classmates, telling them that the Shabab’s mission was to “kill and be killed”. With time seemingly on their hands, they discussed where the Kenyan soldiers might be positioning themselves. Meanwhile, they tested the students’ knowledge of the Koran, killing those who failed. Some students had their throats slit. Others were shot. A few were reported to have been beheaded. Female students were tricked out of their hiding places by the gunmen’s assurance that the Koran forbids the killing of women. Some victims, before being killed, were made to call their parents to blame their death on Kenya’s government for policies that have supposedly led to the killing of Somalis and Muslims.

    By the end of the day 142 students lay dead, along with six policemen and soldiers, plus the Shabab’s quartet. Apart from al-Qaeda’s bombing in 1998 of the American embassy in Nairobi, when 213 people were killed, it was the bloodiest atrocity in Kenya since independence in 1963. President Uhuru Kenyatta called for three days of mourning— and swore vengeance on the killers. He dispatched aircraft to bomb two Shabab camps across the border in Somalia. So far five Kenyan Somalis have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the Garissa attack. Kenya’s central bank governor suspended the licences of 13 Somali remittance firms operating in Kenya and, according to Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper, also froze the accounts of 86 individuals and entities “suspected to be financing terrorism in the country”.

    Islamist assaults on Kenya have been mounting since 2011, when its government sent troops into Somalia to fight the Shabab, which proclaimed its allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2012 and still controls swathes of the country in the centre and south. Since then, the group has killed more than 400 people in Kenya. In September 2013 it butchered at least 67 in Nairobi’s upmarket Westgate shopping mall. In June last year it slaughtered 60 in the town of Mpeketoni, near the island of Lamu. In November and December it murdered 36 labourers in a quarry and 26 people whom it hauled off a bus. Both those atrocities were carried out near Mandera, in Kenya’s far north-east. In all such incidents, the Shabab released Muslims and killed the rest.

    Criticism of the government’s tardy and incompetent response to the slaughter in Garissa has welled up fast. A spokesman for the interior ministry insisted it was “not as bad” as during the Westgate fiasco, when security forces took four days to defeat four terrorists—and, by the by, looted the mall.

    Yet journalists were on the scene in Garissa hours before Kenya’s General Service Unit, a supposedly elite force which took seven hours to arrive from near Nairobi, 360km away, by road and aircraft. Police and soldiers based near Garissa itself were apparently unable to tackle the jihadists. Moreover, despite warnings that the university might be attacked, only two guards had been deployed to protect the students.

    The day before the attack, Mr Kenyatta had lambasted Western governments for warning their citizens against travel to certain parts of Kenya, specifically mentioning Garissa. After the Westgate attack he had been loth to sack any of the ministers or generals in charge of security, though eventually a few heads did roll. This time he will be expected to crack the whip a lot more fiercely.

    A particular worry is that the appeal of Islamist violence is spreading beyond the extremists among Kenya’s 2m-plus Somalis into disgruntled sections of Kenya’s Muslim community at large, especially in the coastal region that caters to many tourists. The Garissa attack was launched on the day before the anniversary of the assassination of a prominent pro-jihadist cleric in Mombasa, Kenya’s main port, known as Makaburi. Many young Muslims on the coast fear they will be targeted by the authorities in the wake of the Garissa outrage. In recent years they have accused the government’s counter-terrorism units of extrajudicial killings, disappearances and arbitrary detentions. In poor areas such as Garissa they also accuse Kenyans from inland, including members of Mr Kenyatta’s Kikuyu tribe, the richest in the country, of buying up land for development. A railway and pipeline from Lamu towards prospective oil wells in north-west Kenya and South Sudan would run close to Garissa.

    Mr Kenyatta’s government is already facing an unusually fierce wave of criticism across the country as a result of a probe into large-scale corruption that benefited members of the ruling elite. If it fails to deal with the Shabab and its home-grown allies better than before, popular discontent could get out of hand.
    http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21647927-mass-murder-terrorists-exposes-host-defects-kenyas-ruling-establishment-could

  • Nkaissery and Boinnet should resign

    Nkaissery and Boinett failed, says Kamama
    BY STAR TEAM | April 8, 2015

    THE chairman of a powerful parliamentary committee has accused the Executive of lack of strategies in dealing with terror attacks. National Assembly Administration and National Security Committee chairman Asman Kamama singled out Interior Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett. He said they should have done better in dealing with the recent Garissa University attack. “The country’s security team failed in their duty even after getting timely and actionable Intelligence, they were not able to post enough security personnel to deal with the possibility of a terror attack,” Kamama said yesterday.

    He also accused the Executive of failing to learn a lesson from a myriad past terror attacks. “The President must take action on those who slept on the job, losing 147 lives with over 70 injured is a monumental loss to the nation. Had the IG sent the elite Recce Squad of the GSU by 8am, many lives would have been saved,” Kamama said. Kamama disclosed that his committee will summon Nkaissery and Boinett for an update on the security strategies and policies being employed by the government to avert future attacks. “Even after going through all this, the government has no solid approach. How many attacks must occur, how many people must be killed, before the government responds? This is inexcusable!

    The President must deal with this laxity,” Kamama said. In a statement on Monday, Boinett defended the police response, arguing that rescue operations are never easy. He said that immediately after the raid happened, a combined force of the Kenya Defence Forces, the Kenya Police Service and the Kenya Prisons Service moved in. When they appear before the MPs, Nkaissery and Boinett will be required to outline the measures employed to identify and de-radicalise youths who have been trained by the al Shabaab terror group in Somalia. Kamama said that the committee wants to have the Dadaab refuge camp closed and relocated inside Somalia, but the recommendations were shot down in the National Assembly.

    On Monday, leaders from Northeastern Kenya led by Majority leader Aden Duale supported the relocation of the refugees. Meanwhile, Health CS James Macharia yesterday said that the ministry and the Kenya Red Cross Society have already ordered 142 coffins. The government will also cater for the transport costs to the respective homes for burial and each family will receive an initial amount of Sh100,000. The payments will be facilitated by both the college and the Moi University Board, starting today, according to Macharia’s statement read by University of Nairobi deputy vice chancellor Henry Mutoro. The transfer will kick off after conclusion of biometric identification and postmortem of the bodies.
    http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/nkaissery-and-boinett-failed-says-kamama#sthash.LU7eb7Sv.dpuf

  • Shutting down hawalas

    Kenya shuts down Somali remittance firms, freezes accounts

    Wed Apr 8, 2015 8:34am GMT

    By Drazen Jorgic

    NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya has suspended the licences of 13 Somali remittance firms following the massacre at a Kenyan university last week, Somalia’s central bank governor said on Wednesday, and Kenyan media reported that dozens of bank accounts had been frozen.

    The killing of 148 students by Somalia’s al Shabaab at Garissa, some 200 km (120 miles) from the border, has piled pressure on President Uhuru Kenyatta to deal with the Islamists who have killed more than 400 people in Kenya in the last two years.

    Kenya’s biggest selling Daily Nation newspaper said on Wednesday that the government has “frozen the accounts of 86 individuals and entities suspected to be financing terrorism in the country”, including Somali remittance firms.

    Somalia’s central bank governor Bashir Issa Ali told Reuters that 13 Somali money transfer firms have been officially notified by Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) about the closure of accounts. He said the move would have a devastating impact Kenya’s Somali community, numbering just over one million people.

    “It’s going to hurt Somalis in Kenya more than Somalis in Somalia. The amount of money sent from abroad to Kenya is huge,” Ali said, pointing out that many Somalis in Kenya rely on relatives abroad for basics including school fees.

    The owner of one Somali money transfer firm told Reuters the Kenyan government has not suspended remittance firms’ bank accounts but that the CBK had instead revoked their licences. “Last night we simply received a notice, without discussion and without informing us (beforehand),” said the owner. “This is not the way to fight terrorists.”

    Kenya’s Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed told Reuters on Tuesday told Reuters that the east African nation is seeking additional foreign intelligence and security help after the Garissa massacre, the deadliest attack in Kenya since al Qaeda bombed the U.S. embassy in 1998, killing more than 200 people.
    http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFKBN0MZ0NE20150408

  • Shutting down hawalas

    Garissa Attack: Kenya Shuts Down Somalia’s Remittance Systems By Kevin Mwanza Published: April 8, 2015, 6:55 am

    The Kenyan government has closed a dozen Somalia-liked money transfer firms, known as hawalas, based in the capital Nairobi in the wake of one of the worst Al Shabaab militants attack that killed 148 people at a University in Garissa, a town in the north eastern part of the country, last week.

    The hawala system is the only money transfer system that many of the Somalians living abroad due to a decade long civil war in the home country depend on to send money back home. There are almost a million Somalis living in Kenya.

    War-torn Somalia has only six licensed commercial banks. Most of the banking in the horn of Africa country is done through informal money transfer firms, known as hawalas.

    “Last night we simply received a notice, without discussion and without informing us [beforehand],”an owner of one Somali money transfer company told Reuters. “This is not the way to fight terrorists.”

    According to Somali Current, the Kenyan government ordered the immediate closure of 13 Somali Hawalas informal money transfer on ground that the they help fund Al Qaed-linked Al Shabaab group, which has launched several terror attacks in the East Africa’s largest economy since 2011.

    The Kenyan government has also frozen 86 individual accounts and suspended 13 Forex exchange bureau working in the country.

    The Somalia’s informal money transfer systems came under pressure in February after US banks stopped operating in the country due to strict regulations set by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency over concerns of money laundering and funding for terrorist organizations.

    This left many Somalis, who depend on the $1.2 billion remittance sent annually by their relatives abroad, without critical financial support. Remittances is the country’s largest revenue source, larger than even foreign aid and investments combined.
    – See more at: http://afkinsider.com/93623/garissa-attack-kenya-shuts-down-somalias-remittance-systems/#sthash.HmPUggMf.dpuf

  • Hawalas vs big banks

    Big banks, money-laundering, and drug capital

    posted by Seshata on July 16th 2013

    Recently, the global banking conglomerate HSBC was struck with a $1.9billion (£1.2 billion) fine for its role in a vast international money-laundering scheme, which washed hundreds of millions—if not billions—of dollars in illegal transactions, with Mexican and Colombian cartels among the direct beneficiaries.

    Liquid drug money propped up global banking system in 2008

    There have been various suggestions since the financial crisis of 2008 that one of the main crutches propping up the international economy during the worst of the fiscal upheaval was black-market drug capital, which amounts to as much as 3.6% of annual global trade and (by virtue of its illegality) is among the most liquid.

    Now, questions are being raised regarding the wider role played by the banking system and the governments of various countries in the global network of illegal drug capital. HSBC may have been the public scapegoat, but other banks (such as Wachovia, which has now collapsed) have been implicated in the scandal, and there are signs of deeper corruption pervading the entire system that has yet to be exposed.

    Importance of drug capital in the global economy

    The level of significance attached to this 3.6% of global trade, which in 2009 amounted to approximately $2.1 trillion, indicates the true importance of keeping the trade illegal. “Black” or illegal money can be far more liquid than “white” as it does not come under the same level of scrutiny, is not subject to taxes and flows around the world very quickly due to the rapid, unregulated nature of most illegal transactions.

    In times of economic depression, drug money can represent a significant source of investment capital, particularly if the lending market is experiencing difficulties. In a fractional reserve system, lending usually creates capital for the banks as they can multiply the money supply (essentially, print more currency) on the basis of customer deposits. Repayment of loans issued using this increased supply of money provide liquid capital, and the basis for allowing new loans.

    After the housing bubble of the mid-2000s collapsed, many banks sought alternative ways to mitigate the huge losses they faced and inflate their balance sheets to appear healthier on paper. HSBC themselves posted projected first-quarter 2008 losses of $17.2 billion after housing-market losses dramatically reduced the value of their existing loans. Stepping up money-laundering services for cartel clients therefore provided an easy solution to the problem of how to make the HSBC balance sheet appear healthy.

    HSBC Mexico & the Black Market Peso Exchange

    The evidence suggests that at least $881 million deposited into HSBC Mexico accounts between 2006 and 2010 came directly from the Sinaloa Cartel, as well as the Colombian Norte del Valle Cartel, utilising a system known as the Black Market Peso Exchange (BMPE) which, as the name suggests, facilitates transfer of pesos to dollars via a sophisticated network of cartel-controlled brokerage firms.

    Essentially, the brokers of the BMPE buy discounted U.S. dollars from the cartels in exchange for pesos owned by legitimate businessmen; goods are then purchased internationally to be sold domestically, in order to recoup the original peso investment.

    The cartels thereby receive “white” pesos in return for a margin paid to the brokers; this avoids the risk and costs associated with depositing directly into standard accounts. The businessmen receive their U.S. dollars for far less than is otherwise possible in Mexico or Colombia. The bank itself receives a margin of its own: according to former Senate investigator Jack Blum in an interview given to Rolling Stone magazine, “the margin on laundered money for years has been roughly 20%”.

    Failure to implement anti-money laundering procedures

    HSBC Mexico was the bank of choice due to their lax regulations and apparent eagerness to accommodate the wishes of their high-value cartel clients. There is evidence that HSBC USA did not monitor international transfers from Mexican accounts, and that the bank violated the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and its anti-money laundering (AML) stipulations on several occasions. Neither branch implemented the AML procedures repeatedly requested by the U.S. Treasury subsequent to suspected fraudulent activity taking place, giving rise to accusations of collusion between the banks and cartels. Furthermore, central HSBC Group executives knew of AML failures on Mexican deposits and failed to inform HSBC USA and ensure that the necessary steps were taken.

    Beyond a token fine, there has been little consequence for the HSBC conglomerate. A deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), authored by leaders of HSBC themselves along with the head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Activity, Lanny A. Breuer, agreed to non-prosecution of HSBC executives.

    U.S. Government yet again fails to regulate and punish financial wrongdoing

    In a perfect example of governments’ failure to regulate, condemn and punish the out-of-control banking sector, (now-former) US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner pushed for the non-prosecution of HSBC executives, and no criminal charges were sought.

    In a press conference at the time, Breuer declared that non-prosecution of HSBC executives was in the public interest: “Had the US authorities decided to press criminal charges, HSBC would almost certainly have lost its banking license in the US, the future of the institution would have been under threat and the entire banking system would have been destabilized”.

    A perfect example of the extent of corruption in the global system

    This appalling manipulation of international banking procedures clearly shows the importance of overhauling the global system once-and-for-all. A bank which purports to be driven on the basis of legitimate trade, but which ultimately has no compunction about turning to illegal activity in harsh economic times, is a bank that must fail.

    A world system that imprisons, disenfranchises and criminalises “ordinary” people for involvement with illegal drugs while turning a blind eye to big businesses doing exactly the same is one which clearly prioritises corporations over citizens. An economy that accommodates and excuses such flagrant infractions is one that has become so corrupt that it must fail.
    http://sensiseeds.com/en/blog/big-banks-money-laundering-and-drug-capital/

  • Financing Al-Shabaab

    Financing al Shabaab: The Vital Port of Kismayo

    By: LTC Geoffrey Kambere, UPDF

    Al Shabaab, which is generally described as a “Salafi-jihadist movement,” is a major player and instigator in the ongoing fight to win control of Somalia.1 For about four years after its inception in 2006, al Shabaab focused its violence in Somalia only. In 2008, its leader, Ahmed Abdi Aw-Mohamed “Godane,” pledged loyalty to al Qaeda and the goal of global jihad.2 The group turned into a transnational threat, however, when it carried out twin bombings in Kampala, Uganda, on July 11, 2010. The African Union and the struggling Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, with the backing of the United States, were unable to make much progress against al Shabaab until Spring 2011. Since then, they have launched a series of offensive operations that succeeded in winning back some of the terrorists’ strongholds, including the vital Bakara market in Mogadishu, and the strategic town of Afogye. As of this writing, however, the terrorists are still strongly resisting, and the international coalition has been unable to attain a decisive victory.

    The international community has concentrated on understanding al Shabaab’s operational component while giving little attention to how it finances itself. This article endeavors to fill in at least some of that gap. The first section examines al Shabaab’s primary sources of funds, how the group moves those funds to where they are needed, and how it spends its money. The second part examines the successes and weaknesses of the countermeasures different actors are using to defund al Shabaab, and recommends ways to use the available information about its financing to impair the group. In particular, cutting al Shabaab off from the Somali port of Kismayo, which is now its principal source of funding, could be fatal to the group. In May 2011, troops from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Transitional Federal Government began a fierce battle to force al Shabaab out of the Bakara market in Mogadishu, where the group had been taxing merchants to finance its assaults on the government’s forces. On August 6, 2011, al Shabaab’s fighters were finally forced to withdraw from Bakara, and the group has suffered from the loss of revenue streams from the market.

    Although it has been forced from Mogadishu, al Shabaab still controls large areas of the country, including the southern and central parts of Somalia. The port city of Kismayo has been identified as the most important current source of revenue for the group. According to a BBC report, “Kismayo, a port city, is a key asset for the militants, allowing supplies to reach areas under their control and providing taxes for their operations.”3 It is fair to speculate that without the funds raised through Kismayo, al Shabaab’s military activities would be severely impeded.

    How al Shabaab Raises Money

    As with all organizations, financial channels are the hidden arteries that keep al Shabaab alive. Al Shabaab has leaned on different sources of revenue to finance terrorist acts for the past several years, including state sponsors, charities, individuals in the Somali diaspora, other terrorist groups, and businesses. Funds typically are transferred through hawala, an informal remittance system traditional to many Islamic communities; through regular banking channels; and by courier. The money goes mainly to support the group’s members, and for the training, recruiting, weapons, and equipment required to sustain the Somali insurgency and wage jihad against non-believers.

    State Sponsorship

    A number of observers have asserted that Eritrea sponsors al Shabaab in an attempt to counter the regional power, Ethiopia, Eritrea’s long-time enemy. Eritrea has consistently denied the allegations. Eritrea reportedly supplies weapons, military training, and even troops to fight alongside al Shabaab’s militants.4 In addition, a United Nations report claims that Eritrea has sent $80,000 per month to some members of al Shabaab through the Eritrean Embassy in Nairobi for almost a decade.5

    Yemen, Syria, Iran, and Qatar are also regularly accused by the Somali Transitional Government of providing funds and weapons to al Shabaab.6 For instance, in January 2010, the Transitional Government’s Minister of Defense, Sheikh Yusuf Muammad Siad—alias Indho Adde—reported that Yemeni rebels had sent two boatloads of light weapons, ammunition, Kalashnikovs, and hand grenades to the al Shabaab-controlled port of Kismayo.7 Subsequently, a March 2010 U.N. monitoring group claimed that Muhammad Sa’iid Atom, an al Shabab-affiliated militant commander in Puntland, had been receiving arms shipments from Yemen and Eritrea.8 In addition, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have remained significant external sources of funds for the al Shabaab organization. Saudi Arabia has long been known for financing “Salafi jihadists.”9

    Charities, Donations, Other Terrorist Organizations

    Terrorist organizations similar to al Qaeda (international jihadists) and other militant Islamic organizations contribute funds to al Shabaab to spread extremism in the Horn of Africa and other parts of the world.10 The World Assembly for Muslim Youth and the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), as well as Somali businesses in the Gulf states, Europe, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Singapore are active financiers of radical Islamic movements in the Horn of Africa.11

    Some charitable organizations that formerly channeled funds to al Itihaad, the Islamist group that preceded al Shabaab, are likewise suspected of maintaining links with al Shabaab.

    These organizations include the African Muslims Agency in Kuwait; the Red Crescent Society of the United Arab Emirates; the al Islah Charity, which is linked to Harakat al-Islah, a Somali diaspora group founded in Saudi Arabia; the Muslim World League (Rabitat al-Islam al-‘âlamiyya) and its subsidiary, the International Islamic Relief Organization, both based in Saudi Arabia; Dawa al-Islamiyya; and the al Wafa Charitable Society, which is listed as a “specially designated terrorist entity” by the U.S. government for its suspected support to terrorist organizations.12

    A diaspora is defined as “a people with a common origin who reside, more or less on a permanent basis, outside the borders of their ethnic or religious homeland—whether that homeland is real or symbolic, independent or under foreign control.”13 An estimated one million Somalis now live outside the country, in sizable Somali communities in the Middle East, Europe, and North America. Some of these diaspora Somalis financially support al Shabaab. In late 2010, for example, three Somali men and one woman were arrested in San Diego, and charged with knowingly providing financial assistance to al Shabaab.14 In another case, a St. Louis cabdriver named Mohamud Abdi Yusuf pleaded guilty in 2010 to conspiracy and providing material support to a designated terrorist organization after admitting he had raised nearly $6,000 for al Shabaab to continue its struggle against the Transitional Government.15 Other supporters include wealthy businessmen, such as Saudi Sheikh Mohamed Abu Faid, who is reportedly the group’s lead financier, and Omar Hammami, who is in charge of financing militants from the United States—often U.S.-born teenagers from immigrant families—who join al Shabaab.16

    The Somalis in the diaspora are estimated to remit $500 million to $800 million annually back to friends and family in their homeland, according to at least one researcher.17 Some of this money, even when it comes into the country legally, will end up in the hands of extremists.

    In addition, al Shabaab apparently has benefited from Somalis residing in Nairobi and in the Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya. Al Shabaab is said to have links with the Pumwani Riyadya Mosque Committee (PRMC) religious organization in Nairobi, which has a network of sympathizers who raise money for the group.18 A good deal of money for al Shabaab also is collected from the PRMC apparently under the pretense of reconstructing a mosque. Ahmed Imam Ali, a Kenyan and the PRMC’s secretary, is reported to be siphoning off funds raised for social projects in Nairobi to facilitate the training and recruitment of insurgents in Kenya.19

    In addition to receiving money from religious donations abroad, members of al Shabaab take advantage of the extensive black markets in places like Eastleigh, a Somali immigrant neighborhood in Nairobi, raising reasonably large sums of money to support the group’s activities.

    Some reports indicate that Somalis raise money for al Shabaab in the form of zakat, an Islamic religious tithe.20 Moreover, according to some sources, big companies such as Dahabshiil Bank, which is based in Mogadishu, send payments to al Shabaab in exchange for safe access to areas under al Shabaab’s control.21 It is said that businesspeople are forced to pay “taxes” equivalent to the cost of an AK-47 in order to keep from losing their entire business inventory. In addition, al Shabaab exacts high tariffs from the informal Islamic banking system of hawala to boost its income, with little apparent regard for the effect this financial drain has on Somalia’s economic activity.

    Businesses in Kismayo

    In 2008, al Shabaab took over Kismayo, the third-largest city in Somalia, after fighting a fierce three-day battle, later called the “Battle of Kismayo,” against pro-government militias. The group quickly imposed harsh administrative rules based in shari’a law on the port’s business community. To raise revenue, al Shabaab increased the fees for importing and exporting goods through the port, one of the largest in the country, by 30 percent.22 The most important economic activities in Kismayo are fishing, the import of goods like rice from Pakistan, and the export of primary goods such as livestock (camels, sheep, and goats), charcoal, and khat to the Gulf states.23 One analyst for African affairs estimates that the taxes al Shabaab collects from the business community in Kismayo include “over $1 million quarterly in port-use charges alone.”24

    Al Shabaab earns considerable money from the charcoal industry, one of Somalia’s main exports, and the chief commodity to pass through Kismayo’s port facilities. According to one report, in the southern sector near the border between Kenya and Somalia, “The cutting down of trees in large areas is evidence of the booming trade in charcoal that was a source of income for the militia group.”25 Vast deforestation in the areas under al Shabaab’s control is another sign of the lucrative charcoal trade between al Shabaab and the Gulf states. It is estimated that al Shabaab exports charcoal worth $500,000 per month to the Gulf states.26

    Besides the considerable income al Shabaab receives through heavy taxes on imports and exports, militants also systematically collect taxes from farmers on Kismayo’s outskirts. In March 2010, the government’s Minister of Agriculture, Muhammad Ibrahim Habsade, claimed that al Shabaab was extorting $150 per hectare from farmers in the fertile Lower Shabelle Valley, and blamed the group’s predations for a decrease in agricultural production.27

    Since 2008, the port of Kismayo has become the main source of revenue for the terrorist group. According to one report, the United Nations believes that “al Shabaab collects an estimated U.S. $35–50 million annually in custom tolls and taxes on businesses in Kismayo and two secondary ports higher up the coast.”28 This is one reason that Kismayo is referred to as the nerve center for the militants. Instead of using the large sums of money collected in Kismayo to maintain the port and city and meet the needs of the local population, al Shabaab sends most of the funds to other areas under its control to advance its insurgency.29

    In October 2011, the Kenya Defence Forces struck a blow at one source of funding for al Shabaab when it took control of Ras Kamboni and Bur Gaboby, two coastal fishing towns that formerly had been controlled by the militants.30 Ras Kamboni, which is closer to Kenya and serves as a base for fishermen supplying seafood to hotels in Lamu and island local resorts, had been a particularly large source of income for al Shabaab.31

    Piracy and Extortion

    Al Shabaab has long been thought to be connected with Somali pirate groups operating in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, but it had been difficult to establish a direct connection between the Islamists and pirates. In December 2010, however, al Shabaab took control of a pirate base called Harardheere from Hizbul Islam, another Islamist group in Somalia, and reportedly reached a compromise with the local pirate gangs that would give the militants a 20 percent share of all ransoms received from the hijacking of ships.32 While there is no documentation to confirm such a deal, its share of the ransom money certainly has been lucrative for al Shabaab. Revenues from piracy also have boosted development in parts of Somalia, making it politically even more difficult to put a stop to pirate activity.33

    Looting the nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that are operating in areas controlled by al Shabaab is another way the group survives. It has been widely reported that al Shabaab loots aid meant for the hunger-stricken populace: in March 2010, the U.N. Monitoring Group alleged that as much as “50 percent of food aid delivered to Somalia was being diverted to criminals and insurgents, including Al-Shabab.”34 Even worse, the practice of kidnapping and ransoming aid workers has also boosted al Shabaab’s finances, while some NGOs and U.N. agencies pay “registration fees” of $500 or more in order to be allowed to operate in areas controlled by al Shabaab.35

    With such a variety of funding sources, even if external support from state sponsors and the diaspora is successfully cut off, al Shabaab’s money flow can be efficiently replaced with internal money sources, including taxes, business profits, port fees, extortion, and security protection fees from prominent business people and aid workers. In addition, the group’s cooperation with Somali pirates remains a source of income.

    How al Shabaab Moves and Spends its Money

    Al Shabaab moves funds through the standard system of banks and couriers, but also through the traditional Muslim system of hawala, an informal means of transferring value and remittances through networks of brokers.36 Hawala, common throughout Somalia, is based on trust and honor, and can be effective, reliable, and efficient; the fact that few, if any, records are kept, is an added bonus for groups like al Shabaab.37 It is possible to organize transfers through secret senders and receivers who do not record and will not disclose details of the transactions. On the negative side, hawala typically involves a great deal of communication by phone, e-mail, and fax, so once a broker comes under suspicion for working with terrorists, his or her transactions may be traceable. In Somalia, hawala is the most common way of transferring money, and is regularly used by ordinary Somalis, but authorities believe it is also used by many al Shabaab sympathizers to support the group’s objectives.38

    Somalis in the diaspora also use wire services such as Western Union and MoneyGram to send money to their relatives in Somalia. These services are well-established in neighboring Kenya, where al Shabaab has a strong presence. Analysts assume that some portion of the money transferred by Somalis through regular wire and bank services is diverted to al Shabaab, although no figures are available.

    Al Shabaab spends most of its money on four things: providing social services to its members (including paying salaries to foreign fighters); fighting to overthrow Somalia’s Transitional Government and to expel Ethiopian troops from Somali territory; waging a violent campaign against nonbelievers (jihad), which includes recruiting and training fighters and buying weapons and equipment; and preaching extremism. Al Shabaab operatives often carry cash on their missions. For example, the perpetrators of the Kampala, Uganda bombings on July 11, 2010, carried their own money, as did the terror cell members who supported those bombings by crossing into Uganda with extra funds. The cash method leaves no trail, making it difficult to track the terrorists or their funding.

    Recommendations and Conclusion

    Too little attention has been paid to creating strategies to counter the financial streams that feed al Shabaab. The current AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) operations against the group are aimed at attacking and eliminating militants; these operations have managed to chase the extremists out of Mogadishu, but not from other parts of Somalia. In addition, operations launched recently in southern Somalia by the Kenyan Defence Forces have neither stopped al Shabaab militants from carrying out their operations nor disrupted the financial channels that keep them active.

    Since the attacks on the World Trade Center in September 2001, the international community has put in place countermeasures against terrorism funding and money laundering. For instance, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was formed in 1989 with 36 member states, including the European Union, the United States, and Canada.39 The FATF, however, is a policy-making body that has concentrated on limiting transfers and strengthening the documentation required of governments. Consequently, the ability to use hawala to send money to al Shabaab from outside Somalia depends only on the enforcement practices of the country from which the funds are sent.40 Respect for sovereignty has made international efforts to limit such transactions ineffective, and the international system to combat money laundering is not binding.

    Disrupting al Shabaab’s funding channels can be especially difficult to accomplish in Somali communities, because some of the group’s funding is through normal, day-to-day financial activities. The enormous sums of money collected by the terrorist group at Port Kismayo, however, can be minimized or eliminated, particularly if the current offensive succeeds and control of the port can be turned over to the Transitional Government or AMISOM. Most authorities in Kismayo portray al Shabaab as an insurgent rather than terrorist organization, running a well-organized administrative system. The booming business environment of the port will keep al Shabaab strong as long as the group controls Kismayo. It is therefore imperative that international efforts to destroy al Shabaab should concentrate not only on countering its fighting tactics, but also on implementing long-term strategies to derail its administrative structure and operations around the port of Kismayo.

    Those who are trying to dry up al Shabaab’s money streams should pay particular attention to the means the terrorists use to avoid local and international financial control measures, especially when the transactions come through “innocent” front groups. East African Community members should work through the Community’s counterterrorism agency to step up money-laundering and business-control measures across all domains, and to dedicate resources to counterterrorism not only at the central government and state levels, but also at the grass-roots level.

    The Kenyan government, in particular, needs to better monitor places where large numbers of Somalis and Islamists live, especially Eastleigh, a neighborhood in Nairobi that is also known as “little Mogadishu.” It is a thriving business and shopping district, and also a hub for the kinds of financial transactions—transfers and remittances by hawala and wire services—that benefit both Somali pirates who need to launder money and al Shabaab. Police occasionally crack down on undocumented immigrants residing in the area, but these moves are sporadic, and often indiscriminate. The central government apparently exercises minimal control over Eastleigh’s rapid growth, which is fed by a steady influx of Somali refugees from over the border, although that may be changing as the area prospers.41 Kenya and its neighbors must put greater effort into properly registering parallel banking systems, such as mobile money services, since these services have proved to be an easy way to transfer money out of the country, and they surpass traditional banks in terms of their geographical reach. Governments also need to implement universal SIM card registration, so that every SIM card would be registered to an individual; such a system would help authorities to track money moved through mobile services. To defeat al Shabaab, international efforts must focus on how to recapture Kismayo Port. If al Shabaab continues to utilize this port as its hub, all efforts to destroy the group may be prolonged, as the terrorists can easily reequip themselves, make money through imports and exports, and coordinate with Somali pirates through Kismayo.

    In East Africa, community-based and ideologically rooted support has helped provide the finances al Shabaab needs to survive and sustain its operations. For years al Shabaab was focused narrowly on expelling Ethiopian troops and winning control of Somalia’s government. Today it has regional objectives in line with al Qaeda’s “global jihad,” and its sources of funding have significantly broadened so that it no longer solely depends on external support from places like Eritrea. Regardless of what strategy AMISOM adopts to defeat the terrorists, Kenya must be involved because Kenya is not only a home for Islamist extremists, but also a financial conduit for al Shabaab. The fact that al Shabaab has continued to receive support from various overseas sources means that the measures put in place to close down funding channels for terrorist groups have not been effective in this case.

    About the Author(s): LTC Geoffrey Kambere serves as the deputy chief of the Integrated Human Resource Management Information System, Ugandan People’s Defence Forces. He recently graduated from the Defense Analysis department of theU.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

    NOTES:
    1. 1 Salafi-jihadists are followers of the modern Sunni Islamic Movement, or Salafism, which adheres to a rigid and strict interpretation of Islam associated with violence against non-believers. Al Shabaab promotes an authoritarian form of “Salafi” Islam that stresses an inflexible interpretation of the Qur’an, with the aim of overthrowing the current government and implementing shari’a law. See Christopher Harnisch, “The Terror Threat from Somalia: The Internationalization of Al-Shabaab,” Critical Threats Project, February 12, 2010, 14-17: http://www.criticalthreats.org/somalia/terror-threatsomalia-internationalization-al-shabaab-feb-12-2010

    2. David Shinn, “Al-Shabaab Tries to Take Control of Somalia,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, November 5, 2012: http://www.fpri.org/enotes/201011.shinn.somalia.html

    3. “Q&A: Who Are Somalia’s al-Shabab?” BBC News, last updated February 23, 2012: http://www. bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15336689

    4. Gabe Joselow, “All Eyes on Eritrea as Arms Shipment Reaches Al-Shabab,” Voice of America, November 1, 2011: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/east/All-Eyes-on-Eritreaas- Arms-Shipment-Reaches-Al-Shabab-133079288.html

    5. Joselow, “All Eyes on Eritrea;” and, Pieter D. Wezeman, “Arms Flows and the Conflict in Somalia,” SIPRI Background Paper, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), October 2010: http://books.sipri.org/files/misc/SIPRIBP1010b.pdf

    6. Joselow, “All Eyes on Eritrea.”

    7. Gulf of Aden Security Review, Critical Threats, American Enterprise Institute, January 4, 2010: http://www.criticalthreats.org/gulf-aden-security-review/gulf-aden-security-review-january-4-2010

    8. Claude Heller, “Letter dated 26 February 2010 from the members of the Monitoring Group on Somalia, addressed to the Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to Resolution 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea, addressed to the President of the Security Council,” UN Security Council, New York, March 10, 2010, 45: http://somalitalkradio.com/2010/mar/un_report_somalia.pdf

    9. James M. Dorsey, “Saudi Arabia Embraces Salafism: Countering the Arab Uprising?” Fair Observer, February 27, 2012: http://www.fairobserver.com/article/saudi-arabia-embraces-salafism-countering-arab-uprising

    10. Abdulkadir Abdiraham, “Islam AU Summit: A/S Carson’s meeting with Somali President Sheikh Sharif Tripoli,” The Telegraph, February 3, 2011: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wikileaks-files/somalia-wikileaks/8302247/AU-SUMMITAS- CARSONS-MEETING-WITH-SOMALI-PRESIDENTSHEIKH-SHARIF-TRIPOLI-00000561-001.2-OF-002.html

    11. Abdisaid M. Ali, “The Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahidiin: A Profile of the First Somali Terrorist Organisation,” Institut für Strategie- Politik- Sicherheits- und Wirtschaftsberatung (ISPSW), June 2, 2008: http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Digital-Library/Publications/Detail/?id=55851

    12. Andre Lesage, “The Rise of Islamic Charities in Somalia: An Assessment of Impact and Agendas,” paper presented to the 45th Annual International Studies Association Convention, Montreal, Canada, March 17–20, 2004, 9.

    13. Valter Vilko, “Al-Shabaab: From External Support to Internal Extraction,” Minor Field Study, Dept. of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, March 2011, 5-6: http://www.pcr.uu.se/digitalAssets/57/57537_MFS_paper_Vilkko. pdf. The author describes how a shrinking flow of funds from emigrant communities is forcing the group to rely more and more on internal Somali sources of funding. Vol. 2, No. 3 | CTX 47

    14. Tony Perry, “Woman Arrested in San Diego on Charge of Providing Money to Somali Terrorists,” Los Angeles Times, November 15, 2010: http://latimesblogs.latimes. com/lanow/2010/11/woman-arrested-in-san-diego-oncharge- of-providing-money-to-somali-terrorists.html

    15. Robert Patrick, “St. Louis Cabbie Gets 11+ Years for Sending Money to Terrorist Group,” STLtoday.com, last updated June 19, 2012: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/ st-louis-cabbie-gets-years-for-sending-money-to-terrorist/ article_2a272094-ba3e-11e1-b919-0019bb30f31a.html/

    16. Shinn, “Al Shabaab Tries to Take Control.”

    17. Kenneth Menkhaus, “African Diasporas, Diasporas in Africa and Terrorist Threats,” in The Radicalization of Diasporas and Terrorism, Doron Zimmerman and William Rosenau, eds. (Zurich: ETH Center for Security Studies, 2009), 87–88.

    18. Geoffrey Mosoku, “Kenya: Riyadha Officials Deny Links to Al-Shabab,” AllAfrica, August 1, 2011: http://allafrica.com/stories/201108021489.html

    19. “Immigrant Admits Funneling Money to Terrorist Group in Somalia,” STLtoday.com, November 4, 2011: http://www.vikispot.com/page/5168237/immigrant-admits-funneling-mon

    20. Ali, “The Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahidiin.”

    21. “Why Blockading Kismayo Will Not Weaken Shabab Financially,” Inside the Insurgency, October 31, 2011: http://insidetheinsurgency.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/why-blockading-kismayo-will-not-weaken-shabab-financially/

    22. MHD, “Life in Kismayo under Shabaab Rule: Shabaab Mobilizing for Defense of Kismayo,” Somalia Report, February 12, 2012: http://www.somaliareport.com/index.php/post/2770

    23. Khat, a plant native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, is very popular throughout the Gulf states and North Africa as a traditional stimulant, and is often enjoyed in social groups the way Westerners drink coffee. Al Shabaab heavily taxes its sale.

    24. Lauren Ploch, “Countering Terrorism in East Africa: The U.S. Response,” Congressional Research Service Report, November 3, 2010, 21: https://www.hsdl.org/?view&doc=133814&coll=limited

    25. John Ngirachu, “Al Shabaab Militia’s Tight Grip on ‘Desert’ Charcoal Trade.” allAfrica, November 13, 2011: http://allafrica.com/stories/201111140919.html

    26. H.S. Puri,”Letter dated 18 July 2011 from the Chairman of the Security Council Committee pursuant to Resolutions 751 (1992) and1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea addressed to the President of the Security Council, UN Security Council, July 18, 2011: http://www.scribd.com/doc/61447283/July-UN-Report-of-the-Monitoring-Group-on-Somalia-and-Eritrea-PDF-Muigwithania-Com

    27. Mohamed Abdi, “Somalia’s minister for agriculture accuses Alshabab for the farmers’ low harvest,” Network Al Shahid, March 24, 2010: http://english.alshahid.net/archives/5426

    28. Tim Lister, “Fertile Territory for Al Shabaab in Chaos of Somalia,” CNN, last updated February 23, 2012: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/11/01/world/ africa/al-shabaab-guide/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

    29. Abdulkadir Abdiraham, “Teenage Al-Shabaab Soldiers in Training,” Demotix News, October 29, 2010: http://www. demotix.com/news/495081/teenage-al-shabaab-soldiers-training 30 Ngirachu, “Al Shabaab Militia’s Tight Grip.”

    31. Ibid.

    32. “The Saga of MV Iceberg: One Ship, Three Different Stories,” Somalia Report, July 26, 2012: http://www.somaliareport.com/index.php/topic/63/

    33. Sarah Childress, “Somali Militants Try Piracy to Fund Attacks,” The Wall Street Journal/Africa website, September 10, 2010: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424 052748703720004575477491009472882.html

    34. Ibid.

    35. Vilko, “Al-Shabaab: From External Support to Internal Extraction,” 21.

    36. Animesh Roul, “Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Financial Network Targets India from the Gulf States,” Terrorism Monitor, vol. 7, no. 19 (July 2, 2009): 8, retrieved from The Jamestown Foundation website: http://www.jamestown.org/programs/gta/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=35221&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=412&no_cache=1

    37. Laura Yuen, “‘Hawalas’ Provide Lifeline to Impoverished Somalis,” MPR News, April 29, 2009: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/04/09/moneytransfer_folo/

    38. “Special report: In Africa, a militant group’s growing appeal,” Reuters, May 30, 2012: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/30/us-shabaab-east-africa-idUSBRE84T0NI20120530

    39. Vilko, “Al-Shabaab: From External Support to Internal Extraction,” 10.

    40. Ibid.

    41. Bedah Mengo, “Eastleigh Estate Nairobi has become Somali business hub,” Hiiraan Online, March 13, 2011: http://www.hiiraan.com/news2/2011/mar/eastleigh_estate_nairobi_ has_become_somali_business_hub.aspx; and Parselelo Kantai, “Inside Garissa Lodge, Nairobi’s Somali Trading Hub,” The Africa Report, January 31, 2011: http://www.theafricareport.com/index.php/east-horn-africa/insidegarissa-lodge-nairobi-s-somali-trading-hub-5136196.html
    https://globalecco.org/financing-al-shabaab-the-vital-port-of-kismayo

  • Financing Al-Shabaab

    Volume 5

    July 10, 2014

    THE SOMALI CHARCOAL INDUSTRY—STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

    By George F. Ward

    Recently, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and Interpol

    jointly released a studyon the global environmental crime crisis. One of the report’s

    noteworthy findings is that worldwide revenue from forest crime, such as illegal

    logging, dwarfs that from more widely publicized wildlife crimes, such as trade

    in rhino horn. Unregulated and illicit trade in charcoal is a major form of forest

    crime. The report estimates that the unregulated charcoal trade in Africa involves

    the loss of at least $1.9 billion annually to African economies. Revenues from the

    charcoal trade flow in several directions, including to militias and terrorist groups.

    Revenues from the charcoal trade are the primary source of income for al-Shabaab,

    the Islamist terrorist group in Somalia. A look beneath the surface at the charcoal

    industry in Somalia reveals an unusual and disturbing intertwining of interests

    among several parties, including terrorists, Gulf-state business interests, and the

    Kenyan government and armed forces.

    Ambassador (ret.) George F. Ward is editor of IDA’s Africa Watch and a Research Staff Member at the Institute for Defense

    Analyses. He is a former U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Namibia.

    Trade in Somali Charcoal

    Charcoal is not only the primary cooking fuel in Somalia, as in much of sub-Saharan Africa, it is also especially prized in the Gulf statesfor its quality. Made largely from the wood of acacia trees, it is slow burning and aromatic, imparting a sweet aroma to the region’s grilled meats. Somalia’s charcoal exports to the Gulf have long been carried by a fleet of dhows and small freighters plying the route between Kismayo and Barawe in southern Somalia and ports in the Gulf region such as Khasab, Oman, and Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. The ships often arrive in the Somali ports loaded with sugar, which is exchanged for the charcoal. In February 2012, the United Nations Security Council, concerned that the charcoal trade had become a significant source of revenue for al-Shabaab, passed a resolution banning that tradeand calling on all nations to enforce the ban. Somali governments since the 1970s have also bannedthe export of charcoal. Unfortunately, the bans often have been ignored.

    Enter the Kenyans

    A report submitted to the United Nations Security Council on July 12, 2013, by the Security Council committee established to monitor the situation in Somalia provided extensive documentation on the involvement of the Kenya Defense Force (KDF) contingent of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Somali militias, and al-Shabaab in continuing violations of the UN and Somali bans. According to the report, when troops of the KDF and members of the allied Ras Kamboni militia entered the port of Kismayo in southern Somalia on September 28, 2012, they found some 4 million sacks of charcoal worth at least $60–$64 million. Comparable stockpiles existed in other Somali ports, including the al-Shabaab-controlled port at Barawe. KDF commanders almost immediately began pushing for the temporary lifting of the ban, ostensibly to provide for one-time export of the stockpiles.

    In reality, the KDF demand was cover for maintaining the charcoal export business indefinitely. Despite the UN’s refusal to lift its ban and the continuing opposition of the Somali government in Mogadishu, KDF leaders and Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Islam “Madobe,” leader of the Ras Kamboni militia, took the unilateral decision to begin the export of charcoal from Kismayo. The UN Monitoring Group was able to determine that at least 1.5 million sacks of charcoal worth $20–$26 million were exported from Kismayo in November and December 2012. In addition, large quantities of charcoal were transferred by land to the al-Shabaab-controlled port of Barawe. The exports were taxed by both the Ras Kamboni militia and al-Shabaab. The exported stocks were immediately replaced by new production from al-Shabaab-controlled areas of southern Somalia, where a forested area was leveled. All told, the Monitoring Group estimated that the rate of charcoal exports rose beginning in November 2012 to a rate of 24 million sacks annually, with a market value of $360–$384. This represented an increase of around 140 percent over the previous year. The new level of production would require 10.5 million acacia trees annually, implying the deforestation of 676 square miles and, as previously reported by Ashley Bybee in Africa Watch, severe humanitarian implications for local communities.

    Strange Bedfellows

    According to the recent UNEP/Interpol report, the Somali charcoal export trade has not in the meantime diminished. Al-Shabaab earns somewhere between $38 million and $56 million annually from charcoal exports from Kismayo and Barawe. In addition, the group collects “taxes” from charcoal traders at roadblocks and checkpoints. At one roadblock alone, al-Shabaab is reported to have collected $8–$18 million annually.

    The Ras Kamboni militia, which is currently allied with the KDF, was formerly associated with al-Shabaab. Like al-Shabaab, the Ras Kamboni militia shares in the income from charcoal exports and collects “taxes” at checkpoints and roadblocks. In Kismayo, the “Juba Business Committee” is dominated by Ras Kamboni. The members of the committee traded charcoal when al-Shabaab controlled the city and have continued since the KDF took over.

    The consequence of these connections is a seamless network for the production and export of charcoal. The UN Monitoring Groupnoted the lack of any significant security incidents along routes on which checkpoints were variously controlled by al-Shabaab, Ras Kamboni, the Somali National Army, and the KDF. In human terms, the charcoal market is dominated by a small number of professional traders, around 70 in number, who are based in Kismayo, the Kenyan border town of Garissa, and Nairobi. These individuals act as brokers for larger traders based mainly in the United Arab Emirates.

    All the Somalia-Kenya based traders deal with al-Shabaab in one way or another, and some are representatives of that organization. Some of the principals in the charcoal trade in the UAE are also directly linked with al-Shabaab.

    Conclusion

    This look into the mechanics of the Somali charcoal trade illustrates the complexity of the conflict in Somalia. Kenya, although formally a participant in AMISOM, which operates in support of the Somali national government, is also complicit in support of trade that provides income to al-Shabaab, its military opponent both inside Somalia and, increasingly, at home in Kenya. Since the charcoal trade is al-Shabaab’s primary income, it is not an exaggeration to posit that a portion of the resources used to carry out terror attacks in Nairobi and in Mombasa and other locations along the Kenyan coast is being generated with the acquiescence or even the cooperation of the KDF and Kenyan business interests. While al-Shabaab vows to continue its attacks on civilian targets inside Kenya as long as the KDF remains in Somalia, the self-interests of Kenyans inside the government, military, and business establishment will tend to prolong that deployment.

    Ambassador George F. Ward is editor of IDA’s Africa Watch and a Research Staff Member at the Institute for Defense Analyses. He is a former U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Namibia.
    https://www.ida.org/~/media/Corporate/Files/Publications/AfricaWatch/africawatch-july-10-2014-vol5.ashx

  • The shame of Kenyan police
  • Pressure on Uhuru

    Pressure mounts on Kenya’s president after university massacre

    NAIROBI | By Drazen Jorgic and Edith Honan

    (Reuters) – Political pressure mounted on Kenya’s president on Wednesday with scathing editorials and growing anger at a seven hour delay in the deployment of a special forces unit that eventually ended the bloody siege at Garissa University last week.

    The al Qaeda-aligned al Shabaab group has now killed more than 400 people in Kenya since President Uhuru Kenyatta took office in April 2013, denting the east African nation’s image abroad and severely damaging its vital tourism industry.

    The pre-dawn attack on the college, 200 km (120 miles) from the Somali border, came a day after Kenyatta berated Britain and Australia for issuing travel advisories, saying their security warnings were “not genuine”.

    However, Kenyan media, some of them owned by Kenyatta’s family, are becoming increasingly critical of the president and government efforts to stop future attacks, drawing comparisons to al Shabaab’s assault on Nairobi’s Westgate mall, where the Islamists killed 67 people during a four day siege in 2013.

    In a front page editorial entitled “If Westgate was a disaster, what do you call Garissa?” Kenya’s biggest-selling Daily Nation newspaper singled out Kenyatta for not meeting the grieving families.

    “In Kenya, your child … is slaughtered, but a little time can’t be found in busy diaries for the leader you elected to come and look you in your teary eyes and assure you that he did his best, that the death of your son or daughter has not been in vain, that he feels your pain,” it said.

    The Standard newspaper rounded on the government for its staunch defence of the security response to the deadliest attack in Kenya since 1998, when al Qaeda bombed the U.S. embassy, killing more than 200 people.

    “It is … morally irresponsible for the government’s PR machine to go into overdrive after what everyone acknowledges was a lamentable response,” it said.

    Even after the editorial, the government once again defended its handling of the atrocity, in which 148 people were killed.

    “We commend our security agencies for responding promptly and launching rescue operations and saving lives,” Defence Minister Rachel Omamo told reporters.

    Diplomats dismissed Kenyatta’s pledges to improve security as hollow rhetoric.

    “There is no strategy,” one senior Western diplomat said. “It’s like an air stewardess saying there is absolutely nothing to worry about but in fact there is no one in the cockpit.”

    Even though Kenyatta’s position is not under threat in a country where tribal allegiances trump most issues, public trust in the state’s ability to protect its citizens is wavering.

    Kenya on Wednesday shut down about a dozen Somali remittance firms and froze the accounts of more than 70 people linked to al Shabaab and “terrorism financing”, Kamau Thugge, the principal secretary of Kenya’s National Treasury, said.

    ANGER AT DELAY

    The anger stems largely from revelations that journalists and politicians from Nairobi arrived at Garissa before the crack Recce police unit, which was delayed at a Nairobi airport for seven hours.

    As the four al Shabaab fighters tossed grenades and sprayed bullets at cowering students, the U.S. and Israeli-trained Recce commandos were unable to find a plane to fly them to Garissa, media reported.

    Asman Kamama, lawmaker and chairman of the National Security Committee, questioned why Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissary flew to Garissa soon after the 5.30 am raid began while the Recce squad, trained specifically for such incidents, was left behind.

    “In future, we will not entertain this,” he told Citizen TV.

    Once the Recce squad went in, they ended the siege in half an hour. To the fury of Kenyans, their assault began about 12 hours after al Shabaab fighters shot their way into the college.

    Survivors who hid under beds and inside cupboards have since recounted how gunmen hunted down fellow students and toyed with them for hours, forcing them to call their parents before executing them.

    “I’m angry because maybe if they were there on time, my brother would still be alive,” said Alice Iyese, 34, waiting at the Nairobi mortuary to collect her 22-year-old brother’s body.

    Once the Garissa raid had been declared a “terrorist” attack, local police and soldiers from a nearby garrison could only set up a perimeter and wait at a safe distance, one government source involved in the response said.

    “If there had been a quicker response, the death toll would not have been so high,” the official told Reuters, adding that the whole chain of command was “not well coordinated”.

    One Garissa-based policeman said a lack of bullet-proof vests meant officers at the scene had little choice but to wait.

    “The Recce squad have all these but they came in very late, after much of the damage had already been done,” the officer said.

    (Additional reporting by George Obulutsa and Humphrey Malalo in Nairobi and Joseph Akwiri in Mombasa; Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Ed Cropley and Giles Elgood)
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/04/08/uk-kenya-security-idUKKBN0MZ16720150408

  • lack of security strategy

    Kenya attacks: Brute force isn’t enough to beat the terrorists

    Mwenda Kailemia

    On Wednesday night, life was normal for the close to 800 students of a university college in the remote part of Kenya’s north east, which borders Somalia. And then, at dawn on Thursday, all hell broke lose: Masked gunmen stormed the fortified campus dormitories shooting indiscriminately at the fleeing students before taking several hundred hostages. The dawn-to-dusk siege ended when the four gunmen detonated their suicide vests, with a fifth arrested. The attack left at least 147 people dead, mostly students, with survivors afterward recounting how the militants singled out and executed Christians.

    It is the deadliest attack yet by al-Shabab, the al-Qaida-affiliated Somali militant group, which declared war on Kenya after the country sent its troops into Somalia in 2011. In a similar attack in 2013, armed gunmen stormed the Westgate shopping complex in Nairobi, selectively killing Christians and taking many people hostage. By the time the guns fell silent three days later close to 70 people had been killed.

    The attacks have raised fundamental questions about Kenya’s security strategy. Recent commentary has emphasised the toxic mix of corruption and the structural alienation of Kenya’s Muslim population. Immigration and police officials, it is argued, can be bought by the highest bidder. Recently there have been widely publicised accounts of how foreigners have managed to acquire Kenyan passports within a few weeks of sneaking into the country. This corruption has played into the hands of both al-Shabaab and the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), a secessionist outfit in the country’s coastal regions, with both capitalising on popular disenchantment of the Kenyan Muslim minority for their recruitment.

    Following yesterday’s attacks, it took security services several hours to arrive at the site of the siege because of bad roads in the area. Neglect by successive administrations has ensured that Garissa, like most of Kenya’s north east, is part of Kenya by name only: before this week’s attack, the local leadership had given the government an ultimatum: either ensure security or allow locals to take up arms to defend themselves from threats that range from al-Shabaab attacks to cattle rustling and inter-clan warfare. Thus, while the story of Kenya’s struggle with terrorism has been dominated by images of urban sieges, the untold story – until yesterday anyway– was the insecurity and neglect that the people of north eastern Kenya have had to endure for decades. The country may have won international acclaim for major investments in infrastructure, but it is not lost on locals that the whole region bordering Somalia has less than 100 miles of tarmacked roads.

    This inconvenient truth, while not by it self sufficient to account for terrorism, should inform the way the country understands and respond to threats to its security. Yesterday’s attacks should also bring to the forefront of Kenya’s national debate on terrorism the role of societal strains. The victims will have been targeted because of a perception of their role in a dominant framework of power. To mount such a deadly attack, al-Shabaab will have relied on local accomplices, buttressed by a framework of clan and/or religious ideology.

    Understanding this “grievance” framework of terrorism is important but only the first step in an effective counterterrorism strategy. The other aspect is to recalibrate the state’s material response. So far this has not happened. Local commentators have called on the state to bring out “bigger guns”, and to identify and eliminate “enemies within”. The current administration’s lack of a nuanced strategy doesn’t go much beyond rolling back civil liberties and using brute force. Other initiatives are more far-fetched – for example a proposed “separation wall” between Kenya and Somalia.

    Suffice to say that al-Shabaab has been effective precisely because it exploits Kenya’s blind spot, which results from this conventional thinking. Although Kenya has one of the highest military budgets in Africa, it has so far not been able to gain a sustained upper hand against what commentators refer to as a “rag tag militia”. Why? Let me propose something radical here: In order to suppress and defeat al-Shabaab, Kenyan policy makers have to learn from them. Alongside a broad rethink of Kenya’s security strategy, the country should climb down from the cold-war logic of heavy expenditure on “force multipliers” (tanks, aircraft etc) and emphasise village-level flexibility and agility, which has greater per capita return. Per annum military expenditure should be informed by the new threat of Islamist terrorism, emphasising development of rapidly deployable cells of Muslim or Somali-speaking infantry with a broad mandate to intervene against breaches of the country’s security laws.

    The reason neighbouring Ethiopia has been effective in responding to al-Shabaab is that, unlike Kenya, it has decentralised risk assessment and security decision-making. Cells of well-trained Kenyan-Somalis, anchored by a large deployment of the KDF along the Somali border, would for example be more effective than the corrupt Kenyan police.

    If al-Shabaab has been effective against armies, it is because it can identify and recruit Somalis who can fight for a fraction of the budget. Kenya needs to out-recruit al-Shabaab, paying more and offering inducements to those who want to be on the right side of history. This will also give it the intelligence advantage it badly needs.

    But here is the problem: Kenya, like African nations generally, assesses its threats from the essentialist perspective of the western states that train their armies. This logic sees recruitment of Somali young men by middle-east jihadis as an aspect of their religion or race only – irrespective of other factors such as monetary inducements. In order to survive and thrive, however, a reassessment of this logic is urgent and necessary.
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/03/beat-terrorists-kenya-western-thinking-al-shabaab

  • let's honor the students

    Tuesday, April 7, 2015

    Let’s honour students; they didn’t die in vain

    In America, if you lose your house in a storm, chances are that the President of the United States will come round to comfort you and promise you federal help in rebuilding your home.

    In Kenya, your child, your only hope in whom you have invested the family fortune, is slaughtered; but a little time can’t be found in busy diaries for the leader you elected to come and look you in your teary eyes and assure you that he did his best, that the death of your son or daughter has not been in vain, that he feels your pain and is doing his best to bring to justice those who did it.

    Even the leader of the Opposition is so busy saving the country that he couldn’t spare an afternoon to share your pain and to assure you of the support of your countrymen.

    Kenya, led by the Jubilee government, let down the students of Garissa University College in life and in death.

    The country is vulnerable, not just because it has enemies, but because its systems of security are corrupt and incompetent. There were intelligence reports that a university was to be attacked, and that Garissa and Mandera were at risk. Why weren’t adequate measures taken to protect the university?

    It is bad enough that it took 11 hours for specialist officers trained in dealing with terrorists to swing into action.

    By then it was too late because everybody knows that Al-Shabaab does not take hostages; the terrorists strike to kill and die.

    The speed with which they are confronted is, therefore, of essence. Any delay, leaving young people at the mercy of the killers for all those hours, takes bungling to a new level.

    A Cabinet secretary going on international TV to argue that the response time was adequate is new low even by our standards.

    On Monday, the Daily Nation wrote the story of Mr Peter Kithome who, in the search for his daughter, Monica Ngwasi Mutinda, was required to look into the mouths of all female bodies in an overwhelmed mortuary from where the stench enveloped nearly the entire neighbourhood. Why did grieving relatives have to be put through additional trauma?

    Why couldn’t individuals first be identified through fingerprints and DNA instead of asking parents to search for their loved ones in a pile of bodies? Why crowd all the bodies into Chiromo Mortuary when there is great capacity in other facilities for decent preservation?

    THE CHILDREN OF KENYA

    These are the children of Kenya, the hope of its future. They are the martyrs of a nation under attack.

    The way we treat their remains must symbolise our resolve to protect ourselves and prevail over enemies. For their deaths to mean something, the entire ceremony of State must be extended in their honour to elevate their sacrifice and energise a brutalised nation.

    It is wrong for leaders to exploit tragedy for political ends. Terrorism is not a campaign issue. It is an existential threat to the nation.

    It saddens Kenyans to see that their leaders are not circling the wagons and fighting this evil as one. Others, who have in the past supported the hate-mongers refuse to see the error of their ways.

    But in this tragedy there are opportunities: to check and weed out the hate-preaching extremists who are radicalising the youth, to design one standard and generally accepted curriculum for madrassa so that religious instruction is not used as cover for radicalisation.

    There is also a chance to smoke out the vile supporters, sympathisers, and financiers of terrorists in our midst.

    These children are lost to us, brutally slaughtered by fanatics. But even in death they still have the power to unite us, to get us to see beyond our differences and to fight together for our preservation as one people.

    Where is the leadership?
    http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Editorial/Garissa-University-College-Students-Death/-/440804/2678700/-/q9k53sz/-/index.html

  • The real Aden Duale

    The untold story of Aden Duale

    To many Kenyans, Leader of Majority in Parliament Aden Duale is the Jubilee government’s foremost defender. The Garissa Township MP takes on opponents of Jubilee – from the civil society to CORD leaders and governors pushing for more funding for the counties through a referendum – head-on. His recent spat with Mr Isaac Ruto, the chairman of the Council of Governors, is the latest demonstration of his determination to defend the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.

    For Kenyans who remember the Kanu regime, Duale is a stark reminder of the sycophants of those days. The likes of politician Peter Oloo Aringo, who at some point referred to then President Daniel arap Moi as the “Prince of Peace”, a title Christians reserve for Jesus Christ. Duale recently said he was ready to take the bullet for President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto. But, beneath the sycophancy is a man whose reputation, together with that of some members of his family, is blotted with scandal and accusations. Duale stands accused of land-grabbing and nepotism, while at least one member of his family has been linked to terrorism.

    In a story complete with the intrigues of attempted murder, Duale is accused of grabbing a piece of land belonging to Garissa Primary School where he has now built a four-storey building called Lillac Centre. Those familiar with the story say that sometime in the 1990s, a group of Islamic scholars requested the board of Garissa Primary School for a piece of land to put up a mosque. However, in 2009, Duale asked the mosque’s management to sell him a part of the land. The mosque’s management committee was split on the issue but a majority of the members opposed the idea, noting that the land still belonged to the school.

    One of those who opposed the request was the committee’s chairman, Mr Yussuf Jama, the brother of Garissa County Governor Nathif Jama. While negotiations were ongoing, Jama was shot outside the mosque by a lone gunman early last year on his way home from evening prayers. He resigned his position soon after. Who replaced Jama? Mr Dubow Bare Duale, a brother of the Majority Leader. Soon after, the land matter was resolved and Duale allowed to lease the land. The school has appealed to the National Land Commission to revoke the lease and asked the Ethics the Anti-Corruption Commission to institute proceedings against Duale. But the complaints have not been acted on for Duale has threatened the officers with censure motions if they dare open files against him.

    The second questionable deal involves Duale’s acquisition of a piece of land in Nairobi’s Eastleigh, where he has set up the Nomad Hotel. The land belonged to the Ministry of Livestock where Duale served as an assistant minister and it remains unclear how it changed hands. Another dark secret Duale has successfully hidden from his Jubilee benefactors and Kenyans is the suspicion that his family could be involved in supporting terrorist activities in North Eastern region and beyond. In fact some in Jubilee tellingly refer to him as the terror donor within the government, a moniker which is pregnant with innuendo. In April 2013, armed gunmen attacked Kwa Chege Kiosk and killed 10 people. Kwa Chege was an informal eatery, popular with the up-country people and employees of development organisations. Soon after this incident security officers in the town questioned Duale’s older brother Hassan Bare Duale.

    An officer involved in the investigations, but who requested not to be named for fear of his personal security, said: “There were too many coincidences, which we simply could not ignore. Our intelligence showed that whenever he traveled to a place, say Mombasa, an attack would occur soon after he left. People came to us and told us to connect the dots. We did but we did not come up with any solid proof to charge him. But it is quite telling that after we questioned him, the attacks abated, at least for a while.” According to security officers, Hassan, a former Administration Police officer, is shielded by his brother Aden’s political clout. As was reported recently by a section of the local press, a low-level but sustained campaign of intimidation and ethnic cleansing against non-Somalis is under way in Garissa town and neighbouring villages.

    Duale is the MP of Garissa Township where most of these attacks have occurred. However, he has never condemned this systematic targeting of a section of Kenyans in his constituency. In the past, Duale has accused CORD leader Raila Odinga of nepotism for appointing close family members to public positions of influence while he was Prime Minister. But those who know him well say he is guilty of the same: He is said to have influenced the nomination of his niece, Mariam Hassan, as a Member of County Assembly on his United Republican Party (URP) ticket. He is also said to have arm-twisted the National Land Commission and the Ministry of Lands and Housing to hire another of his nieces, Fatuma Borrow, as the Lamu County Lands Secretary. She did not apply for the job in the first place, but her name was on the short list. She is said to have failed the interview, answering only three out of 10 questions asked by the panelists.
    However, Uncle Aden Duale came to her rescue and she got the job that pays her more than Sh400,000 per month.

    The Leader of Majority is said to be currently lobbying for another of his brothers, Noor Bare Duale, to be appointed the chairman of the Kenya Revenue Authority. Noor is a businessman with a lucrative tender to supply drugs to government hospitals in the North-Eastern region. Other accusations revolve around his alleged role in influencing tenders. Mr Duale is accused of ensuring major contracts in his county by the national government are issued to him and his family members. These include the construction of five polytechnics in Garissa at a cost of Sh150 million each, construction of Garissa Livestock market, which was funded by the World Bank under the Kenya Municipal Program at a cost of Sh125 million. However, the project stalled due to variation of costs by the contractor.

    Last year, another company associated with his family, Hagar Construction Company, was given a contract to fence the Garissa Provincial Hospital at a cost of Sh40 million. However, the project which was awarded under the former Ministry of Northern Kenya Development is yet to be completed after the company varied the cost of the contract.
    The Duale family has spread its interests beyond the Kenyan borders. Duale’s sister Arfon is a member of Jubaland Parliament in Somalia. Jubaland is the region in southern Somalia which was created by the Kenyan government as a buffer zone against Al Shabab militants. Arfon is a close associate of Professor Mohammed Abdi Mohammed, popularly known as Professor Gandhi, the first president of Jubaland and now Somalia’s ambassador to Canada. She went to the United States around 2008 on a Somali passport as a refugee but came back when the Jubaland government was being put in place. The family is said to have lobbied Prof Gandhi and the current President of Jubaland Sheikh Ahmed Madobe to have Arfon appointed to the region’s Parliament for its own interests. The Leader of Majority hails from a wealthy merchant family that owns a plethora of businesses and properties in Garissa, Nairobi and beyond.

    But having achieved financial muscle, the family is now keen on consolidating its political clout, not only in Garissa County but also in the former North Eastern province. Duale’s position as Leader of Majority in Parliament has given him and the family an important platform to establish grassroot links throughout the North Eastern region for future political endeavors. “The ultimate aim of Aden Duale is not to stick with Jubilee but someday break out from it and form a strong political party for the Somali community and bargain for a higher post in subsequent governments. That is what his family members tell people in public,” said our source. The question nagging many people is why the President and his deputy are still indulging Duale at the heart of government despite being linked to terrorism, corruption and ethnic profiling of Kenyans. Could he be hiding behind the bravado of being Jubilee’s foremost defender to pool wool over the eyes of his benefactors? And if so, why aren’t the intelligence forces outing him? So many question, so few answers. But hey, this is digital Kenya. Karibu.
    The kenyaneditor.com

  • Garissa horror

    UASU says 166 Garissa students are unaccounted for

    By Kiundu Waweru and Brigid Chemweno
    Updated Wednesday, April 8th 2015 at 16:30 GMT +3

    Kenya: The Garissa University College lecturers, who have been missing out in the institution’s massacre script, have finally spoken out.

    They were flanked by the Universities Academic Staff Union ( UASU) officials at the Uniafric House, in what the Secretary General, Muga K’Olale, described as a crisis meeting.

    A seemingly angry K’Olale had several demands towards the government, the first one being that they should come clean on the fate of the missing students.

    “We know 152 students to be dead and 166 are unaccounted for. We fear that they might have been kidnapped by Al-Shabaab, and the government should come clean about their whereabouts,” Muga K’Olale said.

    This is not clear from the Government, though at the Chiromo Funeral Parlour, several families say they are yet to identify their children. Also, on the number of dead students, the government puts the official figure to be 142.

    See Also: Govt pledges Sh100, 000 financial support for Garissa attack families

    At the meeting, the lecturers expressed fear about the security of their jobs, and K’Olale demands from the government that they should be relocated with immediate effect.

    “We are meeting tomorrow with the Moi University Council to discuss the plight of the 27 lecturers. They must be assured of their job security, and they should not lose their benefits.”

    He added that the Moi University Vice Chancellor has confirmed that the University is making arrangements to accommodate the lecturers before May 25.

    One of the GUC lecturers and the UASU Garissa chapter Secretary General Walter Kodipo says that when the Kenya Defence Forces rescued them from the staff quarters, they had no time to pack and they lost personal belongings, including computers and Ipads.

    “They are now living like internally displaced persons,” said K’Olale.

    “We expect the government to relocate the staff from Garissa and provide transport and security,” he added.

    At the same time, the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Jacob Kaimenyi, while speaking at the Harambee House during a joint ministerial statement on the Garissa massacre, reported that the Garissa University College students will be integrated in Moi University campuses across the country.

    But the issue of insecurity took centrestage, with UASU putting the government on the spotlight for failing to protect the students despite there being a security warning two weeks before the attack.

    The UASU added that after the security threat, they immediately had a meeting with the Vice Chancellors to discuss the measures to be taken.

    “The security of the country rests at the doorstep of the President, Inspector General of Police and Interior Cabinet Secretary,” said K’Olale.

    He added that the massive deaths of the students would have been prevented if the security intelligence report was acted upon.

    Similarly, UASU wants the government to allocate part of the next financial budget to universities’ security.

  • It is indeed sad when the State House suddenly realizes that mistakes were made, when all along it has been commendation after commendation for a job well done!! It is utterly disgusting that this must be gleaned out of the government by force, through media criticism and expressed public outrage, rather than as a matter of course for a bungled operation. That the president finds it right to send his court poet to wax the ears of the public with hogwash, rather than him standing before the same public that voted him into office and apologize for the wrongs or failures that his government committed, is the final proof of a coward who only talks tough when things appear good. Admitting a mistake has never been a negative, and an honourable person does this with dignity; and then commits not to allow a repeat of the same. He stood in front of the nation in the wake of the Westgate attack and promised heavens and earth to boost security. He even used the final word NEVER, when he hardly meant it. Now he is ashamed to face the nation again, for he has revealed the fake person and the coward that he is, deep down! I am sure he can hardly face even the mirror in his bathroom, at the moment. I am a bitter man right now, and seeing 147 crosses and candles all night last night has incensed me!! Mr. President, Kenya is very angry inside, and bleeding outside! Take heed and do something !! Take charge, present a plan to us, call us on board and we will all support you in the effort, but do something, please!!!

  • poverty in Kenya

    Failure to reduce poverty threatens Kenya’s economic success

    Nairobi, Kenya – Failure to reduce poverty is affecting the credibility and sustainability of economic growth in Kenya and other African states, researchers from the authoritative Institute for Security Studies (ISS) told a seminar in Nairobi on Wednesday.

    ‘The growth story told by African governments disguises the dire poverty in which many Africans still live,’ said Jakkie Cilliers, ISS executive director and head of its African Futures Project.

    ‘Growth in Kenya has not benefitted the poor but instead increased the wealth gap. Growth needs to be inclusive if Africa is to meet its huge potential.’

    Endemic poverty is one of Africa’s biggest challenges but Kenya, like most African states, is not meeting the poverty reduction targets set out in the current Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that are up for discussion in New York later in 2015.

    ‘Missing the targets means the growth forecasts are wrong, planning is unrealistic, Africa once again loses credibility and there is a destabilising effect across the continent,’ Cilliers said. The UN is currently finalising new MDG targets to 2030.

    New research by the African Futures Project concludes that the proposed target of getting extreme poverty below 3% of the population by 2030 is unrealistic and insensitive to the actual conditions of many African countries.

    ‘It may be suitable as an aggressive goal at global level, but it would leave behind African states which will by 2030 bear the greatest burden of global poverty,’ Cilliers said. This follows expected sharp reductions in poverty in India in the short term.

    He argued for a revised goal of reducing extreme poverty in Africa to below 15% by 2030, and to below 4% after 2045, and that these be included in the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

    Cilliers said current targets for poverty reduction were not specific to the economic and social conditions in many individual countries. ‘We need the African Union to set realistic national targets based on individual countries’ circumstances as part of its Agenda 2063 vision; and which are sufficiently short-term to hold leaders and governments to account while they are still alive and still in power.’

    Unequal growth in Kenya

    Kenya’s people experience greater inequality than any other country in East Africa. This is the result of rapid but uneven growth and a focus on urban not rural development.

    This is because investments in education and infrastructure have focused on the urban elite rather than the rural poor, Cilliers said, and not enough ordinary Kenyans have seen the benefits.

    Even with aggressive poverty reduction interventions, Kenya won’t meet its targets. But reducing inequality will boost the impact of economic growth on the reduction of poverty.

    With pro-poor policies that try to provide social assistance and other support to rural and poor people, Kenya can fairly quickly enjoy a massive reduction of poverty while growing its economy and reducing inequality, Cilliers said.

    Population forecasts released by the African Futures Project suggest that Kenya’s population will increase from its current 46 million in 2015 to 65 million by 2030 and 100 million by 2063. Extreme poverty will initially increase but then decline.

    But with pro-poor policies, the research says, the Kenyan population will increase less rapidly, due largely to improvements in female secondary education and associated reductions in total fertility rates.

    Importantly, these pro-poor policies also enable a sharp reduction in extreme poverty from 18 million in 2015 to 14 million in 2030, and to just three million people in 2045.
    http://www.issafrica.org/futures/press-releases/failure-to-reduce-poverty-threatens-kenyas-economic-success

  • Iran intelligence to Jubilee

    What Iran shared with Kenyan authorities on planned Easter holiday terror attacks

    By Standard Team
    Updated Sunday, April 12th 2015 at 08:20 GMT +3
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    Kenya: Police and other security personnel received specific intelligence reports ahead of the Garissa attacks that claimed 148 lives of university students, The Standard on Sunday can authoritatively report.

    According to our sources, the Iranian government supplied intelligence information to Kenyan authorities preceding the April 2 terrorist attack on Garissa University College.

    A diplomat from a Middle East nation, who asked not to be named, told The Standard On Sunday that “the Iranian intelligence supplied intelligence about an impending attack more than a week before the Garissa attack,” adding that “the Iranians had gathered information that Al-Shabaab was planning a massacre of Christians in Mombasa, Nairobi and Garissa during Easter”.

    We also established that key officials within the Kenyan government received the intelligence on or about March 22, showing that the planned attack was to target Christian gatherings on university towns.

    The chain of the intelligence from Tehran’s security services is one of the most controversial but best kept secrets in the wake of the GUC carnage.

    “The fact that security was increased at GUC means that they received the intelligence information. It is only that the officers were overwhelmed,” confirmed Senior Director of Public Communication at State House, Munyori Buku.

    Mutual interests

    Without delving into specific countries which provided the intelligence, Mr Buku said information sharing had become part of the fight against terrorism.

    He, however, requested that the Inspector General of Police be contacted to shed more light on how the intelligence was gathered and managed.

    Although the Kenyan military and police refuse to confirm these claims for fear of antagonising traditional Western allies, The Standard on Sunday established from diplomatic sources and Iranian operatives in Nairobi that Kenya’s and Iran’s intelligence apparatus have grown closer lately out of mutual interest.

    The National Security Council reportedly met around this date to process the Iranian intelligence and dispatched reports to regional security committees in priority counties expecting enhanced security.

    Speaking to Reuters after the bloody attack, a female student at Garissa Teachers Training College confirmed that the institution’s administration alerted students of a possible terror attack in Garissa.

    “Then on Monday, our college principal told us that strangers had been spotted in our college. On Tuesday, we were released to go home, and our college closed, but the university campus remained in session.”

    Members of Parliament from northern Kenya have separately corroborated this account. A first term MP allied to the Jubilee coalition said the police and security forces were sloppy in arresting the situation, leading to “senseless massacre of our children”.

    “Some of us have seen the intelligence reports and I can assure you they were specific and actionable. Nothing was done and instead we (politicians from northern Kenya) are facing public lynching for allegedly covering financiers of terrorism,” protested the MP.

    Efforts to get comment from National Assembly’s chairman of National Security and Administration Committee Asman Kamama were fruitless as his phone went unanswered. However, speaking during a live television talk show this week, Kamama regretted that “the police could have done better, but they reacted (to Garissa attacks) rather late”.

    The Standard on Sunday established that although Western intelligence services also had information about planned attacks, the Iranians had specifically warned the Kenyan government about imminent attacks on Christians at university campuses in Mombasa, Nairobi and Garissa.

    Unconfirmed reports suggest that the Egyptian government, which is also battling radical Muslim militants, also learnt from its intelligence agents in Eritrea that the Somali militants were plotting to attack targets in Kenya and warned the authorities.

    It is from those cautions, the National Security Council met and subsequently passed information to County Security Committees, including that of Garissa. One of the targeted counties was Garissa but it is not clear why security was enhanced at the Garissa campuses although some accounts suggest that a prevalent opinion within security officials was that Al-Shabaab was unlikely to attack a university within a Muslim majority area.

    But the military appears to have taken the threat more seriously which explains its fast response with Special Forces.

    Investigations by The Standard on Sunday sought to establish the veracity of the Iranian angle. Although no government official wanted to speak on record, several described Iran as “a friendly country with whom we have shared intelligence often”.

    More reliable

    Another told The Standard on Sunday that Tehran appears to have had a self-interest in supplying the intelligence – it sought to curry favour with the Kenyan authorities in the hope of securing a deal over two Iranian intelligence agents jailed in Kenya about two years ago.

    A Kenyan intelligence agent who cannot be named argued that “Tehran’s intelligence on Al-Shabaab is more reliable and accurate given that it has supplied and supported militant groups in Somalia before”.

    The agent further argued that the Iranians have had interests on the East Coast of Africa for almost a millennium and have lately sought to expand the influence of their Shia religion through diplomacy and intelligence sharing among other methods with East African states, partly to check Turkey’s forays in the region.

    According to this agent, Iran’s intelligence operatives are active in Eritrea, Yemen and Nairobi where key Al-Shabaab planners and actors are based.

    In the wake of the rise of radical Sunni terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria, said the agent, Iran appears to have stepped up its interests on Al-Shabaab following reports that the Somalia terrorist group was planning to forge an alliance with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an alliance that would threaten Tehran’s interests in Yemen where it is seeking to exert influence.

    To achieve that, Tehran is said to have inserted agents inside the Jubaland areas controlled by African Union. It is suspected that the Iranian agents, largely, picked intelligence on Al-Shabaab’s plans on Kenya in the Eritrea capital, Asmara, Yemen and Nairobi.
    http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000158052/what-iran-shared-with-kenyan-authorities-on-planned-easter-holiday-terror-attacks?articleID=2000158052&story_title=what-iran-shared-with-kenyan-authorities-on-planned-easter-holiday-terror-attacks&pageNo=1

  • Uhuru domo domo

    President Uhuru Kenyatta’s slip of tongue or costly gaffes?

    By Joe Ombuor
    Updated Saturday, April 18th 2015 at 00:00 GMT +3

    Kenya: President Uhuru Kenyatta’s style of issuing directives is taking a heavy toll on public confidence. Several of his recent orders have also dented his popularity.

    A day to the Garissa attack, he haughtily dismissed as “not genuine” travel advisories by Britain and Australia to their nationals to keep off the Coast and Northern regions of Kenya in the face of imminent terror strikes.

    “Let their taxi drivers not come. US President Obama is coming,” he said to laughter from the bemused audience.

    He impulsively blamed the inadequacy of police officers for the attack that took 147 young lives after a poorly coordinated response and ordered the newly appointed Inspector General of Police to ignore a court order slapped on 10,000 recruits over a corruption riddled process and immediately have them in training.

    What followed was an imbroglio with far reaching consequences on the recruits who saw their re-kindled ambitions die after the order was quashed for constitutional reasons and a humiliated President quietly let it be. It was yet another costly gaffe.

    Kenyans will recall Uhuru’s assertion thus: Usalama waanza na mimi. Usalama waanza na wewe (security starts with me and you) when he belatedly jetted back into the country from a trip abroad days after the twin Mandera attacks that claimed 63 lives.

    The President was in Abu Dhabi when 28 teachers travelling home for December holidays were butchered.

    It is true elements of personal security rest with individuals, but how for Christ’s sake would the hapless teachers have known their bus was a target for terror attack?

    Also recall his contention that the Government cannot provide a police officer for each individual. While factual, it couldn’t have gone down well with those grieving.

    The country still awaits his promise to set up a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate Westgate terror attack that took away 67 innocent Kenyans and wounded 175 others.

    The Mpeketoni incident was no better.

    The President publicly trashed Al Shabaab’s claim of responsibility for the pogrom that took 60 lives, many of them settled there from Central Kenya by founding President Jomo Kenyatta and chose to term the attack ‘a politically motivated ethnic violence against a Kenyan community with the intention of profiling and evicting them for political reasons’.

    Consequently, he ended up pre-empting an independent investigation of the attack and set the stage for inter-party blame game and irresponsible vituperations of hate messages to the delight of Al Shabaab.

    The Leader of Majority and Jubilee’s cheerleader Aden Duale took to the floor of Parliament with raucous shouts of ‘we cannot allow you to kill our people’ and ‘wait for 2017 if you want to lead’, leaving no doubt as to his insinuation.

    What was obviously a terror attack quickly mutated into fresh killings in Likoni, Mombasa by faceless gunmen targeting members of one community. Insecurity had unfortunately been used to fuel a siege mentality against ethnic communities that had nothing to do with the terror and government slip-ups.

    Even as he swings a heavy cudgel against purported corrupt officials in his government, the President appointed to the board of Kenya Seed Company former Finance Minister Chris Okemo in spite of corruption and money laundering cases that require his repatriation to battle it out in court overseas. Okemo in his wisdom, turned down the offer until such a time that he will have cleared his name, a move that considerably embarrassed the presidency that had parried calls to revoke the appointment.

    Also recall when a three-year-old girl was raped in Nyeri. Uhuru’s take was puzzling. At the official opening of 16 days of activism against gender based violence, the head of State publicly wondered why the girl’s parents could not protect her.

    He said ordinary citizens such as the girl’s wayward uncles and not security agencies were to blame for insecurity in the country.

    Public uproar

    His statement caused a public uproar because the Constitution puts security squarely in the hands of Government.

    The President’s directive at the official opening of the Global All in Campaign against adolescent infection and death by HIV/Aids to have students with HIV and Aids profiled kicked up a storm as soon as it was uttered.

    The directive required the collection of up to date data on all school going children living with the scourge, something the Commission on the Administrative of Justice Chairman Otiende Amolo described as unconstitutional.

    Mr Amolo, a member of the Committee of Experts, which drafted the 2010 Constitution said Uhuru’s order violated several sections of the supreme law.

    He remarked in a letter to the President thus: “The directive raises legal and ethical issues that relate to the right to privacy and confidentiality for persons living with HIV and Aids. We are of the considered view that the directive may be counterproductive in the national HIV response and must be withdrawn.”

  • Kenya ‘ignored Garissa university raid intelligence’

    23 minutes ago

    Relatives hold portraits of those killed during the attack on Garissa University College, Nairobi, Kenya – 9 April 2015

    Most of those who died in the day-long siege were undergraduates

    Kenya’s interior minister has said security officers ignored intelligence reports prior to the attack on Garissa University College earlier this month.

    Joseph Nkaisserry, who is in charge of security, also admitted that the response was poorly co-ordinated.

    Militants from the Somali-based Islamist al-Shabab group killed 148 people during the day-long siege at the campus in the north-eastern town.

    There has been much public criticism over the alleged security failings.

    Last week, seven top policemen were suspended by Mr Nkaisserry following an initial inquiry into the security failings.

    Universities had posted memos warning students of possible violence and the principal of Garissa University College is reported to have requested additional security at the campus, in vain.

    Mr Nkaisserry made the comments before a parliamentary committee on security.

    The security force’s delay in responding to the university attack was caused by poor co-ordination, he said.

    The structural design of the campus had also hampered the rescue mission as the accommodation hostels were “like cells as the windows had grills”.

    Kenyan police on the day of the attack on the university in Garissa – 2 April 2015

    The university raid started at dawn and questions remain over the initial reaction

    The BBC’s Odhiambo Joseph in the capital, Nairobi, says there was drama during the hearing when the minister became involved in a heated exchange with MP Ababu Namwamba.

    Another legislator, Zakayo Cheruiyot, then walked out – signalling his dissatisfaction with Mr Nkaisserry’s response over the handling of the Garissa attack.

    Most of those who died in the raid were students and the attackers singled out Christians to be killed and spared Muslims.

    It was worst attack to date in Kenya by al-Shabab, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda.

  • Garissa truth

    Thursday, April 30, 2015

    Terrorists outgunned Kenya army

    By JOHN NJAGI
    More by this Author

    A special unit of the Kenya Defence Forces was overpowered by two machine gun-wielding Al-Shabaab terrorists during the attack on Garissa University College.

    Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery told National Assembly’s Committee on Administration and National Security how helpless the specially-trained forces were and how they eventually had to use a military tanker to provide cover for the Recce squad, which completed the job, more than 12 hours later.

    “Two Al-Shabaab gunmen stood at either side of the entrance to the hostel with machine gun fire, and they were able to repel the KDF officers who wanted to storm in. No one could go near there,” he said.

    Mr Nkaissery was explaining for the first time, how one of the worst terror attacks in the country that led to the death of 147 people unfolded, and the lapses that helped increase drastically the casualties.

    He told the committee that the regional security committee, led by the county commissioner, had actionable intelligence of an imminent terrorist attack at the university but did not act on it.

    He said six officers have been interdicted due to “acts of commission or omission”.

    At the centre of the lapse between intelligence gathered and action taken to thwart the threat is Garissa County Commissioner Njenga Miiri, who was also in charge in Lamu when Al-Shabaab struck in Mpeketoni, leading to the death of 60 Kenyans.

    TRANSFERED A PROBLEM

    Yatta MP Francis Mwangangi asked the CS to confirm whether the government had transferred a problem to another area.

    “This county commissioner was in charge of Lamu when the Mpeketoni attack took place before he was transferred to Garissa where another attack occurred. In both cases, actionable intelligence was not acted upon,” he said.

    Mr Nkaissery said a team was working on security proposals that would put regional commissioners in charge of all government assets in their areas, including helicopters, for faster response to emergencies.

    Meanwhile, drama unfolded during the meeting as MPs clashed over a claim by Mr Mwangangi that there were terrorism sympathisers in the committee.
    Wajir West MP Mohammed Ore asked him to substantiate.

    Mr Mwangangi was also on the spot after he claimed only Muslims are usually killed during terror attacks.

    Committee chairman Asman Kamama found himself in trouble when he said Muslims are also killed, with Embakasi West MP George Theuri refuting the claim.
    At one point, Mr Kamama threatened to throw out some of the MPs as he tried to bring the meeting to order.

    Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba challenged Mr Nkaissery to state what the government was doing to ensure terrorist attacks do not lead to a religious conflict, given that the terrorists were only targeting non-Muslims.

    The minister said he had formed a team to compile a report on the matter.

    “I do not understand the mentality of the terrorists. We have formed a team that will look into the issue, and give a report which will inform our next course of action,” he said.

    He said he was working to bring the Police Airwing under one command, which would enable faster response and transportation of elite officers following the delayed response to the Garissa attack.

  • Garissa massacre
  • Garissa massacre

    Kenya official compares terror victims to ‘cockroaches’

    April 9, 2015, 11:59 AM|Reporting from Johannesburg, South Africa

    Kenyan officials admitted Thursday that they made mistakes in their handling of last week’s terror attack on Garissa University College, but one senior police official seemed to put the onus on the victims, saying people should fight back and “don’t just be killed like cockroaches.”.

    At least 148 people died in the attack, including at least 142 students. Accounts from survivors suggest that most of those who got out alive did so either by running away, hiding or playing dead among the bodies of the slain, not by fighting back against the heavily armed gunmen. Somali-based Shabab militants claimed responsibility for the massacre.

    Students have told how one gunman ran into an early morning Christian prayer meeting and sprayed gunfire at praying students, shooting some in the face and others in the chest before kicking the bodies to ensure they were dead. Of 29 in the meeting, only seven survived.

    The senior police official, Pius Masai Mwachi told journalists at a Nairobi morgue that when terrorists attack, the best thing to do is to fight back, the Associated Press reported.

    Mwachi tweeted similar comments, saying, “If you are in the hands of terrorists, free yourselves as soon as possible (fight out).” He said Kenyans must “never accept to be divided along ethnic and religious lines,” a reference to the fact that the Garissa killers allowed some Muslim students on the predominantly Christian campus, 90 miles from the Somali border, to walk free.

    Mwachi’s comments, implying that students could have avoided being killed “like cockroaches,” were made at the morgue where families were collecting their dead, and came in the wake of an attack that critics say was badly mishandled by the government and security agencies.

    Kenyan authorities have been under fire over the late arrival of the nation’s special anti-terror police, who did not launch a counter-attack on the campus until about 4:30 p.m., 11 hours after the Islamist militants assaulted the campus last on April 2.

    Heartbroken parents wondered why the government took so long to respond, amid survivors’ accounts of the Shabab gunmen taunting students and killing at leisure as the siege dragged on. There have also been questions about why security was not boosted at the school after intelligence reports indicated that a campus would be attacked.

    Presidential spokesman Manoah Esipisu admitted for the first time Thursday that mistakes were made, but said they were inevitable. He said the objective was always to save as many student lives as possible.

    “Did we do something wrong in Garissa? Yes, of course. It is always a learning curve. The only person with all cards is a terrorist. He knows where and when, what time. You react. In reacting, there are always time lapses. You have to react and plan,” he said in comments to newspaper editors in Nairobi, according to local media.

    “You have to prepare for that ground. It is not as if you are dealing with known variables. You are dealing with a terrorist scenario. This is not a joke at all,” he said.

    Another government official expressed irritation that Kenya’s media were “negative” in their accounts of the handling of the attack.

    Information, Communication and Technology Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said Kenya’s media should be more “patriotic.”

    “We expect the media to work with the government instead of focusing on the negative alone. The media [are] part of … Kenyan society and we have to work together for the common good,” he said, according to local media reports.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta has been criticized in Kenya’s media for failing to meet with grieving parents or surviving students in the wake of the attack.

    An editorial in the Standard newspaper Wednesday said the public was impatient for answers about why the anti-terror police took so long to arrive and whether more lives could have been saved had they arrived hours earlier.

    “It is therefore morally irresponsible for the government’s PR machine to go into overdrive after what everyone acknowledges was a lamentable response. In the end, the unabashed defense of the operations does more harm to the grief-stricken families of the dead and mocks the public. Instead of trying to justify its failure, the government should instead admit it did not measure up to expectations and endeavor to remedy things,” the editorial said.

    Much of the criticism focused on the failure to learn the lessons from a 2013 attack by Shabab militants on the Westgate shopping mall, in which 67 people died.

    At Kenya college, Christian students foretold massacre

    “If Westgate was a disaster, what do you call Garissa?” ran the headline on Wednesday’s editorial in the Daily Nation, criticizing Kenyatta for failing to meet the parents of the dead.

    “In Kenya, your child, your only hope in whom you have invested the family fortune, is slaughtered. But a little time can’t be found in busy diaries for the leader you elected to come and look you in your teary eyes and assure you that he did his best, that the death of your son or daughter has not been in vain, that he feels your pain and is doing his best to bring to justice those who did it.”

    The newspaper said the students had been let down by security officials.

    “The country is vulnerable, not just because it has enemies, but because its systems of security are corrupt and incompetent,” it said. “There were intelligence reports that a university was to be attacked, and that Garissa and Mandera were at risk. Why weren’t adequate measures taken to protect the university?”

    Given Shabab’s history of killing rather than taking hostages, the newspaper said, it was crucial to respond swiftly, adding that the belated arrival of the special police forces “takes bungling to a new level.”

    Kenyan police Wednesday froze the accounts of 85 people and businesses alleged to have terror links. They included 13 Somali remittance companies and bus transport companies operating routes in northeastern Kenya. The closure of the remittance firms follows moves in February by U.S. banks to shut down remittances to Somalia because of concerns some of the cash may be going to Shabab.

    Somalia has virtually no working banking system, and Somalis rely on relatives in the diaspora to transfer cash remittances. About $1.3 billion in remittances flows into Somalia each year.

    Merchants Bank of California, which handled most remittances, closed down services in February.
    http://www.latimes.com/world/africa/la-fg-kenya-official-cockroaches-20150409-story.html

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