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12 novembre 2015 4 12 /11 /novembre /2015 17:45
Kenyan forces say flush out suspected Islamist militants in forest


12 November 2015 defenceWeb (Reuters)


Kenyan security forces have destroyed five camps used by suspected militants linked to the Somali Islamist group al Shabaab in a sweep of a forest on the north coast, a commander in charge of the operation said.


The army and police launched the operation two months ago in Boni Forest, close to the Somali border, to flush out militants it believed were using the area to launch strikes in Kenya.


Al Shabaab has been behind a spate of attacks on Kenya in the past two years, including an assault on Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall that killed 67 people and a raid on Garissa university in the northeast that killed almost 150.


The militants also launched several attacks in 2014 that left more than 100 dead in Lamu County region, an area that includes Boni forest.


"The combined security units discovered five different al Shabaab hideouts inside the forest," the head of the operation, James Ole Serian, told Reuters. "The hideouts have already been destroyed and the weapons handed to the government."


The militants themselves fled when the operation was launched on Sept. 11 and none were arrested in the raids, he said. But several people in the surrounding area, mostly Kenyans, had been detained on suspicion of having links to the group, he added.


"You will be seeing some of them in court soon," he said.


Military planes and helicopters have been sweeping the area since the operation began and local residents have reported sporadic sounds of gunfire and blasts from the area.


“We are not leaving the Boni forest anytime soon until we ascertain that every terror element in the forest has been cleared," Serian said, adding the operation could take more than the three months originally planned.


Officials said at least 3,000 people living near the forest were forced to leave so the operation could go ahead.


In the port city of Mombasa, further south, a regional official said security forces were on alert for suspected militants who had fled Boni Forest area. Security forces have also set up road blocks between Lamu and Mombasa.


"We are very alert and have the names of some of them," Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa said.

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18 mars 2015 3 18 /03 /mars /2015 12:45
A donated Cessna 208B Caravan

A donated Cessna 208B Caravan


17 March 2015 by defenceWeb


The US government has donated two Cessna 208B Caravan light aircraft to the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) Air Wing to support the Ugandan contingent battling Al Shabaab militants in Somalia.


The aircraft were handed over by Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Kampala, Patricia Mahoney, on March 16 at Entebbe Airport.


The aircraft, worth $15 million including spare parts and training, were donated by the US Department of Defence and will be deployed to the main UPDF Air Wing air base in the northern city of Gulu from where they will support the hybrid African Union/United Nations Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) according to a statement from the US embassy in Kampala to local newspaper New Vision. They will be used for transport, medical evacuation and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance flights over Somalia.


“The donation aims at increasing Uganda’s national air forces’ capacity to conduct AMISOM counter-terrorism operations. These aircraft will enhance the capacity of Uganda’s air forces to provide mobility, reconnaissance, and evacuation support,” US ambassador to Uganda Scott Delis said.


In addition to donating the Caravans, the US government is considering replacing the three Mi-24 helicopters that crashed on Mount Kenya on their way to Somalia in August 2012, according to the chief of Uganda’s military, General Katumba Wamala. “We have been having these discussions and they have hinted on the possibility of replacing them with their own kind of aircraft,” Wamala is quoted by The Monitor as saying.


The Caravan handover comes a month after the US government donated eight armoured Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles to the UPDF. They were handed over on February 20 by Lieutenant Colonel Giff Haddock of the US Army on behalf of the US Ambassador to Uganda.


Earlier this year the UPDF and Burundian contingents of AMISOM received 20 Cougar Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles from the US Combined Joint Task Force–Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) as part of measures to boost the force protection capabilities of AMISOM. The MRAPS were donated under the Excess Defense Articles programme. The vehicles were used to replace 20 South African-made Casspir armoured personnel carriers which had been in use since 2010.


The United States has promised to deliver additional MRAPS to Uganda.


Uganda joins a growing list of African militaries to benefit from the US Army's continental counter-terrorism programme. So far, Mauritania and Niger have each taken delivery of at least two Cessna 208B Caravans. The US has also contracted Cessna to deliver aircraft to the Kenyan Defence Force (KDF).

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9 mars 2015 1 09 /03 /mars /2015 17:45
A Somali MAV 5

A Somali MAV 5


09 March 2015 by defenceWeb


The Italian government has donated 54 vehicles to the Somali National Army as part of efforts to strengthen its ability to combat al Shabaab militants and other security challenges.


The vehicles were received by General Dahir Adan, chief of the Somali National Army (SNA) on March 5 at Mogadishu’s port after arriving by ship. Also present at the handover was Colonel Bernardo Mencaraglia, Commander Italian National Support Element (IT-NSE), European Union Training Mission (EUTM) Somalia.


Garowe Online reports that the equipment will be used by the armed forces, intelligence service and police. The shipment includes trucks and MAV 5 light armoured vehicles, based on the IVECO 40.10 and capable of carrying six personnel.


Mencaraglia said the vehicles were donated in line with previous commitments. For example, in April 2014, Italy delivered 30 vehicles to the Somali Police Corps in the first instalment of materiel donated by the Italian ministry of defence to Somalia’s armed forces.


The donations are part of Italy’s commitment to safeguarding peace and stability in Somalia. Italy is strongly committed in the European Union Training Mission in Somalia. After four years in Uganda it redeployed to Mogadishu in 2014. The current strength of 130 personnel represents 11 nations and forms an integral part of the EU Horn of Africa strategic plan, proving a variety of military capabilities for the development of Somali security forces.


EUTM Somalia provides military advice to the MoD/Defence General Staff and basic/specialist training to the Somali National Army and as of October 2014 had planned and conducted 18 training courses at Jazeera Training Camp, training almost 1 500 Somalis.

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16 décembre 2014 2 16 /12 /décembre /2014 08:45
Al-Shabab fighters outside Mogadishu, Somalia (Archive)

Al-Shabab fighters outside Mogadishu, Somalia (Archive)

December 15, 2014: Strategy Page

More and more al Shabaab groups are leaving central Somalia and heading for the Kenyan border, where they have access to the large number of Somali refugees (in well supplied Kenyan camps) and ethnic Somalis long resident in northern Kenya. These Somali Kenyans are easier to convince or coerce into cooperating with the Islamic terrorists than the Kenyans belonging to one of the many black African tribes native to East Africa south of Somalia. Al Shabaab is still angry at Kenya for sending troops into southern Kenya and, with the aid of local clan militias, set up a new government in the area that had long been under al Shabaab control. Traditionally Somalis invade Kenya not the other way around and the fact that the Kenyans got away with their “invasion” of southern Somali still annoys al Shabaab (and a lot of other Somalis.) So al Shabaab is moving south for revenge as well as to get away from peacekeepers, anti-al Shabaab militias and the trained soldiers the government now has available. The al Shabaab forces along the border are not yet strong enough to go to war with the Kenyan Army and the local Somali militias, but terrorism is another matter. So groups of al Shabaab gunmen have been crossing the border and murdering non-Moslem civilians they come across. This has angered Kenyans who are demanding that their government do something. In response Kenyan warplanes have bombed suspected al Shabaab camps and Kenyan troops are aggressively seeking out al Shabaab men on both sides of the border. Despite that there is panic among non-Moslem Kenyans living near the Somali border and thousands are leaving.

Kenya currently has 3,000 troops on the Somali side of the border and even more on the Kenyan side (in addition to police). The government is apparently going to send more troops and police to the Somali border and Kenyans up there who are ethnic Somalis are being asked to help. Some do, but many do not and a few actually support al Shabaab. At the moment the Kenyan security forces are held in low esteem by most Kenyans and political and military leaders are under a lot of pressure to actually do something.

The UN and other foreign aid groups gave become increasingly strident about foreign donors not providing enough money to deal with growing food shortages in Somalia. So far only about a third of the money (over 800 million) needed to handle the coming food crisis has been pledged. There are 20 percent more Somalis in need of aid this year than last. Foreign donors are reluctant to spend a lot of money on Somali aid because over the last two decades so much aid has been stolen by Islamic terrorists, warlords, bandits and whatever passes for government. The drought in 2011 killed a quarter of a million, largely because al Shabaab banned the “un-Islamic” food aid from those needing it. But the donor nations note that the aid groups play down the theft and subsequent investigations revealed this and the fact that the aid groups simply paid off the thieves, often with a portion of the aid. Donor nations want better security before they provide all that is demanded.

The major problem in Somalia has long been corruption and when this problem is actually measured Somali finds that it has the dubious distinction of being best at something they would rather not be. Thus a recent international study found Somalia one of the three most corrupt nations in the world. Corruption in this Transparency International Corruption Perception Index is measured on a 1 (most corrupt) to 100 (not corrupt) scale. The three most corrupt nations have a rating of 8 (Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia) and the least corrupt are 91 (New Zealand and Denmark). A look at this index each year adds an element of reality to official government pronouncements. African nations are the most corrupt, followed by Middle Eastern ones.

Somalia also excels at terrorist violence. A recent terrorism survey (Global Terrorism Index) found that five nations (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria, in that order) accounted for 80 percent of all terrorism related deaths in 2013 and even more in 2014. Four Islamic terrorist organizations (ISIL, al Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Taliban) account for nearly 70 percent of all terrorist deaths. Many of the lesser terror groups are also Islamic. In fact, of the top ten nations by terrorist activity (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria, India, Somalia, Yemen, Philippines and Thailand) only India and the Philippines had a significant minority of terrorist deaths that were not carried out by Moslems. In those two countries the minority terrorists were leftist rebels who had not noticed the collapse of radical socialism in 1989. Meanwhile the rapid growth in Islamic terrorism violence caused the total number of terrorist acts to increase 44 percent in 2013 over 2012. Al Shabaab does what it can to keep Somalia competitive.

December 14, 2014: In Mogadishu al Shabaab fired several mortar shells at the largest peacekeeper base in the country. There were no casualties. This was apparently retaliation for an operation earlier in the day that arrested 200 men suspected of belonging to or supporting al Shabaab.

December 13, 2014: In central Somalia (Galguduud province) fifteen people (five soldiers and ten Sufi militiamen) died when troops drove the Sufi militia out of a village they had occupied. Since late 2011 Sufi militiamen have been again fighting al Shabaab gunmen in central Somalia. In the first eight months after the Sufi Ahlu Suna Waljama militia went to war with al Shabaab, the Islamic terrorists lost control of most key towns they held in central Somalia. Sufis are believers in a more mystical and peaceful form of Islam, and are looked down on by many radical Sunni groups. But the Somali Sufis got tired of being harassed by al Shabaab, and in 2008 began to arm and organize themselves for defense. In 2010 the Sufi militias became allies with the TNG (Transitional National Government) and Ethiopia, which keeps lots of troops on their Somali border, occasionally crossing into Somalia in order to discourage al Shabaab from raiding into Ethiopia. Since 2013 there has been growing friction between local Sufi leaders and the officials the national government has sent to set up local government. The Sufi complain that they are being ignored and taken advantage of. The corruption of the government officials doesn’t help either.

December 12, 2014: In the Bakool area (175 kilometers north of Mogadishu) seven women have been killed because of an al Shabaab effort to intimidate soldiers. It began last week when al Shabaab kidnapped and beheaded the wife of a local soldier and another woman who cooked for the soldiers. In revenge soldiers seized ten women they believed were married to al Shabaab members and began killing them. Five of the ten were killed before tribal elders showed up and persuaded the soldiers to stop.

December 6, 2014: In Mogadishu parliament voted (153 to 80) to remove the current prime minister from power and thus give the president another chance to find a prime minister who will do what the president tells him. The dismissed prime minister and the president have been openly feuding for months over who gets appointed to senior positions. This is not about appointing the most effective officials, but the ones who will steal the most for the president or prime minister (the two most powerful politicians currently in government.) A recent UN study found that many officials will steal over 70 percent of the government funds they have control over.

December 5, 2014: In the central Somalia town of Baidoa al Shabaab set off a car bomb in a crowd and another bomb in a café that killed 15 and wounded three times as many.

December 4, 2014: One of Kenya’s F-5 jet fighters crashed on its way back from a bombing mission along the Somali border. Al Shabaab claimed to have shot down the fighter but the pilot reported mechanical problems before the jet went down. Kenya has obtained 29 F-5s since the late 1970s and about twenty are still in service and several more are being refurbished. Fifteen F-5s were recently refurbished after being obtained from Jordan. The F-5s is a 12 ton fighter roughly similar to the 1950s era MiG-21, and is a contemporary of that Russian fighter. The F-5 was built mainly for export to nations that could not afford the top-line Western fighters, but did not want the MiG-21s. The F-5 is normally armed with two 20mm cannon, and three tons of missiles and bombs. Introduced in 1962, over 2,200 were built before production ended in 1987.

December 3, 2014: In Mogadishu an al Shabaab suicide car bomber attacked a UN convoy killing four people (all security guards or civilian bystanders). The UN personnel were safe within armored trucks that are used to transport them from the heavily guarded UN compound to the equally well guarded airport.

Just across the border in Kenya (Garissa) someone threw a grenade into a café and wounding two people.

December 2, 2014: Just across the border in Kenya (outside Mandera) al Shabaab killed 36 non-Moslem workers at a quarry. As a result of this atrocity the Kenyan president fired his Interior Minister and the head of the national police promptly retired. Later in the day gunmen attacked a pub near the Somali border, killing one customer and wounding three others. Al Shabaab is violently opposed to alcoholic beverages and all sorts of other things (like school for girls).

November 26, 2014: The EU (European Union) agreed to keep its 128 military trainers in Mogadishu for another year. In 2014 the EU instructors trained 1,200 Somali troops and expects to train the same number in 2015.

November 24, 2014: Many Kenyans doubt their government’s claims that security forces quickly killed over a hundred al Shabaab men in the wake of the Mandera massacre. Al Shabaab denies that they suffered any losses and the government simply says that air force warplanes bombed al Shabaab camps along the Somali border while ground troops pursued and caught some of the Mandera killers. If that is so, Kenyans wonder why there are not photos or prisoners shown to prove it. Kenyans are losing faith in their security forces.

November 22, 2014: Just across the border in Kenya (outside Mandera) al Shabaab gunmen stopped a bus and killed 28 non-Moslem passengers, while leaving the Moslem passengers unharmed.

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15 septembre 2014 1 15 /09 /septembre /2014 16:45
Major-General Philip Kameru, director-general of the National Intelligence Service photo PSCU sept 2014

Major-General Philip Kameru, director-general of the National Intelligence Service photo PSCU sept 2014


12 September 2014 defenceWeb (Reuters)


Kenya on Thursday swore in a new intelligence chief to tackle the rising threat from Somali Islamist militants bent on retaliation after U.S. missiles last week killed their leader Ahmed Godane.


Major-General Philip Kameru's appointment as new director general of Kenya's National Intelligence Service comes nearly a year after al Shabaab gunmen killed 67 people in an attack on Nairobi shopping mall.


Kenyan security bosses have been lambasted by the public for failing to prevent the four-day Westgate mall siege and Kameru's predecessor, retired Major-General Michael Gichangi, resigned in August, under pressure over a rise in attacks blamed on al Shabaab.


Kenya has suffered a string of gun and grenade attacks by the al Qaeda-affiliated group since the Westgate raid a year ago, particularly in Nairobi and on the coast.


Godane, who claimed responsibility for the Westgate attack, said the group would take revenge for Kenyan and Western involvement in Somalia. He has been replaced by little-known Ahmad Umar.


Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has said he picked Kameru for his success in intelligence-gathering in Somalia. Kenyan troops first launched an offensive against the Somali Islamists in October 2011, accusing them of raids inside Kenya.


The soldiers are now part of a U.N.-mandated African peacekeeping force in war-torn Somalia.


Analysts say Kenya's security and intelligence agencies, which receive support and training from the United States, Britain, Israel and others, are hampered by poor coordination.


Corruption means Somali militants can easily buy travel documents or bribe their way across the border, they say.


In a statement from the presidency on Thursday, Kenyatta told the new security chief to work effectively with other government officials.


Kameru's appointment coincided with a tightening of security at Kenya's frontiers.


"We have beefed up security at all border points and any foreigners visiting or touring the country would be properly screened before being allowed into the country," a police spokeswoman told Reuters.


Kenya's tourism industry, a top foreign exchange earner, slumped badly because of the mall attacks. Some Western nations have warned their citizens against travel to parts of Kenya, including coastal resorts, prompting mass cancellations.

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12 juin 2014 4 12 /06 /juin /2014 16:45
Kenya to acquire new military helicopters and other hardware


09 June 2014 by Oscar Nkala - defenceWeb


The Kenyan government has unveiled plans to spend US$1 billion acquiring 10 new military helicopters, the refurbishment of three grounded Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters and the installation of closed circuit (CCTV) surveillance cameras in 10 cities in terms of a strategic five-year national security plan to secure the country against a series of terrorist attacks blamed on Somali Islamist militant group Al Shabaab.


The Standard reports the budget, released to the heads of national security agencies which include the army, intelligence, prisons and police services by cabinet secretary for the Interior Ministry Joseph Lenku in Nairobi last week, also includes the leasing of at least five helicopters to improve the operations the police force aerial wing.


The 2014/2015 budget will also cover the hiring of undisclosed number of motor vehicles and the acquisition of new motorcycles for the police services in addition to the 1 200 vehicles leased for the force last year. The budget will also cover additional vehicles for high-ranking police officers including regional superintendents and assistant commissioners.


According to the budget breakdown, the government will spend $205.6 million on the acquisition of 10 new military helicopters, $12.6 million on the renovation of three grounded Mi-17 helicopters, $11.4m on leasing helicopters to enhance aerial police patrols and a further $171.3 million on the metropolitan CCTV surveillance system.


The Integrated Public Safety Communication and Surveillance System will cover the municipalities of Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu, Garissa, Eldoret, Thika, Kisii, Nyeri and Kakamega. The controversy-shrouded tender for its implementation was recently won by local company Safari.com.


"This is part of the modernisation of our security systems in that we are able to use technology to respond to emerging crime trends. Criminals are becoming more sophisticated and we think this is the solution to tame them," Lenku said.


The first phase of the project involves mapping of the Mombasa and Nairobi line which will then be fitted with 1 800 communication and surveillance cameras monitored from a command and control centre in Nairobi.


The system will use infrared cameras capable of capturing images in dim light, Box cameras and Dome cameras capable of covering a 360 degree observation angle. The CCTV system is also capable of identifying and cross-checking faces against local police and Interpol databases of known criminals and terrorists.


The command and control centre will initially be connected to 195 police stations in the Nairobi and Mombasa municipalities while 7 600 officers will have walkie-talkies connected to the system.


The connection will enable officers to use a distress button fitted to the walkie-talkie to send video imagery of the situation around them via high speed internet link. Addressing the nation during the independence celebrations on Sunday, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the country has to spend more to achieve national security.


"Terrorists, thieves and poachers threaten our lives, our property and our national heritage. Our first line of defence is our men and women in the disciplined services and my government will stand with them. We have introduced CCTV cameras in major cities and towns, as well as broadband connectivity at border points.


"We have already provided at least 1 200 vehicles for the police, which will soon be equipped with CCTV cameras. Nearly 8 000 men and women have already joined our armed services to strengthen them for the challenges to come. This year, we have set aside Sh2.9 billion for the recruitment of 10 000 more police officers," Kenyatta said.

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7 avril 2014 1 07 /04 /avril /2014 07:45
Somalia: Islamic Terrorists Down But Still Nasty


April 4, 2014: Strategy Page


For over a month soldiers and peacekeepers have been advancing south and driving al Shabaab men out of over a dozen towns containing more than 100,000 people. Counting those living in nearby villages and small settlements that comes to nearly a quarter million people liberated. The Islamic terrorists admit they have ordered their men to not stand and fight but to withdraw and organize terror attacks on security forces and pro-government locals. There are still several dozen towns and villages with Islamic terrorists still in them and basically living off (and terrorizing) the locals. This includes a 200 kilometer stretch of the southern coast, including the port town of Barawe. Chasing the Islamic terrorists out of these towns is the easy part, what is difficult is setting up security in “liberated” areas. Al Shabaab has made public its plans to attack these new policing forces and regain control. In some cases the departing Islamic terrorists ordered residents to flee with them. Or, as the terrorists sometime put it, “with us or die.” There were no massacres against those who did not flee and few civilians left as the peacekeepers arrived. Al Shabaab leaders have been urging their men to develop better relations with civilians, in line with current al Qaeda doctrine. Most al Shabaab men have taken these instructions to heart and there have been no mass killings of civilians recently. But the people in the former al Shabaab controlled areas are terrified that al Shabaab will do what they said they would and return. There is going to be a lot more fighting in the south, most of it terror attacks and small battles with groups of al Shabaab who get cornered and fight to the death (as many are wont to do.) Somalis are also angry with how the Islamic terrorists take what they want (as “taxes”) and are now confiscating any telephones they find that have cameras. Somalis report that the Islamic terrorists are very frightened of the approaching peacekeepers and desperate to keep the local Somalis so terrified that no one will cooperate with the peacekeepers to find where the al Shabaab men are hiding. 


April 1, 2014:  In Kenya (Mombasa) a radical Islamic cleric was shot dead in a drive-by shooting. He is the third Kenyan Islamic radical cleric to die like this in the past two years. This has led to unrest among Kenyan Moslems who accuse the government of assassinating Islamic radical clerics and persecuting Moslems in general. Many Moslems have a sense of entitlement and believe that the non-Moslem world is at war with them. These attitudes are a primary cause of Islamic terrorism and are difficult to deal with. The dead cleric has long been accused to preaching in support of Islamic terrorism and recruiting for al Shabaab.


March 31, 2014: In Kenya (Nairobi) three bombs went off in a market in a neighborhood full of Somalis. There were six dead and twenty wounded. Police immediately began searching buildings in the area and seeking al Shabaab sympathizers. By the next day police had arrested over 650 local Somalis for questioning. 


March 28, 2014:  In the southern port town of Barawe al Shabaab accused three local men of spying for the government and then killed them. The men may indeed have been government informants but the Islamic terrorists will often accuse anyone in the least degree suspicious and kill them just to frighten others away from becoming informants. 


March 25, 2014: Kenya ordered all Somali refugees living outside refugee camps to move to a refugee camp. The UN promptly criticized this measure but the government is under tremendous public pressure to reduce the Somali terrorist threat. Since many Somali refugees have been caught supporting or carrying out terrorist activities the UN protests are not popular at all in Kenya and the refugees will be pressured to go to the camps. There are about 525,000 Somali refugees in two Kenyan camps. The UN runs the camps but has no control over some 50,000 Somali refugees living mostly in the Somali neighborhoods of Nairobi and Mombasa. About 76 percent of the Moslems (four million people) in Kenya are ethnic Somalis who are citizens. Kenya is largely Christian with a Moslem minority (12 percent of the population) that has been harboring Islamic terrorists. Kenya also hosts nearly 300,000 other refugees from Ethiopia, Sudan, Burundi and Congo. Many Kenyans feel that the rest of the world does not appreciate what a heavy burden this places on Kenya.


March 23, 2014: South of the central Somalia town of Baidoa al Shabaab gunmen stopped a vehicle carrying eight clan elders from a government conference. When the Islamic terrorists discovered the loyalties of the elders they killed them.


In Kenya (outside Mombasa) masked gunmen charged into a church and opened fire on the worshippers, leaving six dead and many wounded. This gunmen then left and moved wards another church nearby but before they could get into that church police showed up and the gunmen fled. The attackers were believed to be Islamic terrorists, most likely Somalis because they were yelling in a language the victims could not understand.


March 18, 2014: In the north (Buloburde) al Shabaab used a roadside bomb against soldiers and peacekeepers and killed eleven of them. In the south a suicide car bomber and some Islamic terrorist gunmen attacked a hotel housing peacekeepers and killed eight people. Four of the attackers were also killed. Both these attacks followed similar violence a few days earlier.


March 17, 2014: Outside of Mogadishu Islamic terrorists attacked peacekeepers with a suicide car bomb, killing four people.


March 15, 2014: In Mogadishu a suicide car bomber set off his explosives prematurely killing only himself.


March 14, 2014: Kenya deported three foreigners (from Belgium, France and Algeria) who had been arrested in 2013 as they attempted to get to Somalia to join al Shabaab.  The U.S. announced rewards of up to $3 million each for information on three al Shabaab leaders.

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24 mars 2014 1 24 /03 /mars /2014 17:45
AMISOM and Somali forces retake another key town



24 March 2014 defenceWeb


In an early morning operation at the weekend the Somali National Army (SNA) backed by African Union forces overran Al Shabaab outposts to capture the key town of Qoryooley in Lower Shabelle.


Located 120 km south-west of Mogadishu, Qoryooley has been under terrorist rule for five years. In the last month, many al Shabaab commanders have fled to the town following a string of defeats by the SNA and AMISOM forces said spokesman Colonel Ali Eden Houmed.


The capture of Qoryooley is seen as critical for AMISOM future operations to liberate the port city of Baraawe, one of the remaining sources of illicit revenue for extremist group.


The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif congratulated SNA and AMISOM troops on the achievement. He said the operation again demonstrated AMISOM’s continuing determination to support the people of Somalia as they embark on a new path of renewal and reconstruction.


“AMISOM will continue to bring security to more areas of Somalia so local people can live their lives and pursue their livelihoods in freedom.”


Joint operations between the SNA and AMISOM which began this month have to date liberated eight towns in the various regions around the country, the most recent being Qurunlow town in Middle Shabelle.


Since the UN Security Council boosted AMISOM troop numbers to over 22 000, the forces working closely with SNA have moved to new areas and helped the Somali government by providing a secure environment and recovering more territory, as well as ensuring law, order and justice he said.

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13 mars 2014 4 13 /03 /mars /2014 17:45
Kenya Defence Force troops near Kismayu in Somalia

Kenya Defence Force troops near Kismayu in Somalia



13 March 2014 defenceWeb (Reuters)


African Union peacekeepers and the Somali army have begun a major offensive against al Shabaab militants, the U.N.'s Special Representative to Somalia said on Wednesday, urging donors to fund logistical support.


U.N.-backed peacekeepers pushed the Islamist fighters out of Mogadishu in 2011, but the al Qaeda-linked group has continued to launch guerrilla-style attacks there and kept control of several towns and many rural areas.


A new offensive to capture the remaining territory had been expected ever since the U.N. Security Council in November authorized an increase of more than 4,000 peacekeepers for the African peacekeeping force known as AMISOM, from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Sierra Leone.


Special Representative Nick Kay said the push started this month when Ethiopian troops took control of towns in southern Somalia, including Bakool regional capital Hudur.


"(The offensive) is progressing quite well," Kay told Reuters via telephone from Mogadishu.


"The Ethiopians clearly have been doing well, recaptured several important towns in Bakool and in Gedo (region)."


Kay said al Shabaab had to be pushed out of territory where it was training more insurgents, taxing businesses and importing arms through ports.


"That's why this AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) offensive is really important to deprive them of those bases," Kay said.


In a rare move, the U.N. has passed a resolution to provide logistical support to the SNA troops fighting alongside the 22,000-strong AMISOM force, which has been in Somalia since 2007.


Kay said this support will see one U.N. agency carry out medical evacuations and provide rations, transport and tents for the Somali army, which analysts say is badly trained, poorly equipped and lacks discipline.


The U.N. Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA) needed more funding to do its job and so far only Britain and United States have pledged a total of about $6.5 million, Kay said.


"The rule of thumb was that, to begin with at least, $20 million would be a good amount to keep going," he added.


Al Shabaab has carried out several bombings in Mogadishu in recent months, including a large-scale raid on the Somali presidential palace and an attack on a U.N. convoy.


Kay warned conditions were likely to remain volatile in the capital and al Shabaab might intensify its bombing campaign as it came under pressure in the countryside.


"I think that's something AMISOM, the government and ourselves are prepared for," he said. "Things may get tougher in the short term but we have to be ready for that."

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18 décembre 2013 3 18 /12 /décembre /2013 17:45
Kenyan soldiers outside Westgate Mall

Kenyan soldiers outside Westgate Mall


12 December 2013 defenceWeb (Reuters)


The European Union has offered to increase counter-terrorism support to Kenya after the Westgate mall attack in which gunmen from a Somali Islamist group killed at least 67 people in Nairobi, a senior EU official said on Wednesday.


Kenya, an ally for Western powers trying to curb the spread of radical Islam out of east Africa and in particular Somalia, has in the past suffered major attacks on its soil by al Qaeda and its Somali affiliate al Shabaab.


Analysts and diplomats say the five-day Westgate siege showed large holes in Kenya's security apparatus despite Israel, the United States and Britain training many Kenyan intelligence, military and police officers over the years.


Human rights groups have also accused Kenya's Anti Terror Police Unit of brutality and extra-judicial killings of mainly Muslim men suspected to have linked to al Shabaab. Kenyan officials have repeatedly dismissed the allegations.


Nick Westcott, EU managing director for Africa, said EU plans include helping Kenya boost regional intelligence co-operation, greater support for Kenya's crisis response co-ordination and tracking financial flows of terror suspects.


During the Westgate attack Kenya's main intelligence agencies were criticized for their poor communication and information sharing with each other, as well as east African and Western intelligence agencies.


Westcott said the EU has also offered support and advice on how to deal with "radicalization of political discourse which encourages people to resort to terrorism".


"A lot of these are issues we've had to face ourselves in Europe so we have experience and skills that we are very happy to transfer to Kenya," he told reporters in Nairobi.


More Kenyan police could be trained in Europe, he said.


Westcott also told Kenyan officials it was important to find the right balance between security and civil freedoms.

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 06:45
Africa’s Coming Drone Wars

September 24, 2013 @PeterDoerrie - war-is-boring


Drones are useless against advanced enemies, so “pivot to Asia” actually means “drones to Africa”


Not too long ago, Mohamed Bazoum, the foreign minister of the western African nation of Niger gave a provocative endorsement to unrestricted drone warfare. The target: drug dealers moving their wares through the country — along with everyone else who makes money from the narcotics trade.

“I would really welcome armed drones to shoot down drug traffickers,” Bazoum said. “And all those who live from activities linked to drug trafficking. I don’t see why that shouldn’t be possible.”

It’s not, yet. But Niger’s government has gotten a taste of the capabilities of U.S. drones with the deployment of two MQ-9 Reapers (the successor of the pop-culture famous Predator drone) to a base near Niamey, Niger’s capital, in February. The unmanned planes are armed with only cameras and sensors — not bombs — but Niger’s government isn’t the only African nation that’s acquired a taste for more.

Many African states sport huge territories, of which large swathes of land are only sparsely inhabited. This is exploited by armed rebel groups all over the continent, who use the remote areas to prepare for attacks.

Some of these groups, like Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) or Al Shabaab in Somalia have made international headlines in recent years, ousting the government from large parts of the national territory in Mali and Somalia, respectively. Al Shabaab is believed to be responsible for carrying out the worst terrorist attack in Kenya since the 1998 embassy bombings.

The U.S. government probably wouldn’t have cared very much, but both AQIM and Al Shabaab are Islamist groups with strong links with Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Yemen, and members of the African affiliates have been involved with organizing and staging terrorist attacks abroad.

Other armed groups — both Islamist and others — kindle the interest of U.S. militaries and policy makers as well. Boko Haram is another Al Qaeda affiliated group that’s in open warfare with the Nigerian government. The defeat of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (though now active in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic) has been made a cause célèbre by American advocacy groups. Various rebel groups in eastern Congo have made it on the government’s radar as well.

Last but not least, there are a range of other armed groups with little impact on U.S. interests directly, but which are a huge thorn in the sides of important U.S. allies — the Oromo Liberation Front in Ethiopia is a case in point.


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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 12:45
Kenya : Mall Massacre Sends The Wrong Message

September 23, 2013: Strategy Page


In Nairobi, Kenya the fighting with Somali al Shabaab gunmen in a mall continues. The government says that most hostages have been freed and that troops are closing in on the remaining terrorist gunmen. An Internet announcement said the terrorists in the mall were holding hostages, which they would kill if security forces continued attacking them. Last night the government said the mall was being cleared and would soon be safe. The hostages have been used as human shields, complicating army and police efforts to eliminate the terrorists inside the mall. Al Shabaab describes the mall attack, which has left nearly a hundred dead and 200 wounded, as retaliation for Kenyan peacekeepers coming into Somalia to fight the Islamic terror group. The Kenyan government repeated promises that attacks like this will not lead to a withdrawal of Kenyan troops from southern Somali. What’s going on between Somalia and Kenya goes back a long time. The Somalis have been raiding what is now Kenya for centuries, and for once the Kenyans have the upper hand. They are not dissuaded by terror attacks. Al Shabaab believes that an attack of this magnitude would change that. So far the Kenyan reaction appears more anger than fear and that bodes ill for Somalis (citizens and refugees) living in Kenya.


Al Shabaab sponsored terror attacks in Kenya over the last few years has created a backlash against the Somali population there. There is growing tension between Kenyan Christians and Somalis. About ten percent (4 million) of Kenyans, mostly along the coast, are Moslems and most of these are ethnic Somalis. There has always been some Islamic radical activity among Kenyan Moslems, but the police have been particularly attentive to it after Kenyan Moslems were found to be involved in terrorist operations in the 1990s.


What the police have not done, however, is make much of a dent in the criminal infrastructure that supports smuggling, money laundering, a black market for guns, IDs and drugs and much else. The cops are often bought off, and the criminal gangs (especially the many Arab and Somali ones) provide support for terrorist operations in Somalia and Kenya. For example, a lot of the pirate ransom money ended up in Kenya, either for purchases of goods shipped to Somalia, or to be laundered and invested. Wealthy Somalis often find it prudent to go into exile, and Kenya is a popular place to retire to.


Then there are the overseas Somalis. Most of these are in Britain (300,000) and the United States (150,000). There are also half a million Somali refugees in northern Kenya and several hundred thousand more in places like Ethiopia and Yemen. Somali Islamic radicals often send their families into exile, to protect them, and some Islamic radicals have themselves gone into exile. There, Somali men, usually young (teenager to early 20s), are recruited and sent back to Somali for more indoctrination and training. Some are killed there, and some return to the U.S. and Britain to help with recruiting and, it is feared, to carry out terrorist attacks. This Western source of recruits has been largely shut down but Somalis outside Somalia continue to be a source of radicalized recruits for al Shabaab and cash for terrorist organizations. 


The Somali Islamic radicals have long been recruiting from among Kenya's Moslem population. This recruiting has slowed in the last year, because of the many defeats al Shabaab has suffered recently in Somalia. But many radicalized young Somalis are still living among the refugees and Moslem populations of Kenya. Police attempts to find and arrest Islamic radicals are often clumsy and result in innocents being rounded up or killed. This just creates more anger in the Moslem neighborhoods. The mall murders are expected to increase the police pressure on Kenyan Somalis. Many al Shabaab believe that this might trigger a Moslem uprising in Kenya and lead to a combined Somali-Kenyan Islamic state. This is pure fantasy but it’s the sort of thing Islamic terrorism thrives on. The mall attack and continued terror attacks in Somalia appear to be al Shabaab’s way of remaining in the news. A group like al Shabaab survives only as long as it can attract new recruits and cash donations. Western governments are trying to cut off the flow of cash to al Shabaab, and that is having some impact. But the fanatical puritanism and righteousness of Islamic terror groups still appeals to some young Moslem men, who see little future for themselves. Most Moslem societies have major problems with providing education and curbing corruption. This combination discourages foreign investment and economic growth. The Islamic radical solution is a mirage, but to the young, unemployed, uneducated and violence prone it resonates.  


It is believed that al Shabaab attacked this particular mall because it is popular with foreigners and wealthy Kenyans. Many Moslems work or shop there and some are believed to have died despite al Shabaab efforts to spare Moslems. Al Shabaab also made much of the fact that some of the mall owners are Israeli and Israel has been helping Kenya with intelligence and expert advice that has been useful in the fight against Islamic terrorists.


In Mogadishu two years of increasing security has attracted more foreigners (diplomats, aid agencies and entrepreneurs) and that has sent real estate values increasing by a factor of ten or more. This has forced out many long-term renters and led to corrupt officials assisting in the theft of some properties. This is usually done using false ownership documents obtained by bribing a government official and then bribing police to assist in the eviction. Court officials are then bribed to make the theft stick. This is causing a long of anger in the city. In addition the government is forcing over a hundred thousand refugees from areas outside the city.


September 21, 2013: In Nairobi, Kenya some 15 al Shabaab gunmen stormed into an upscale mall and began killing people. Those who could prove they were Moslem were spared but all others were killed. Automatic weapons and grenades were used and by the end of the day 59 were confirmed dead and over 200 wounded. Many of the casualties were women and children. Soldiers and police responded quickly and drove the attackers into a single location where the gunmen kept shooting and said they had hostages. Israeli counter-terrorism experts who were in Kenya quickly went to the mall to assist the security forces. Israel offered additional help.


Al Shabaab had its twitter account shut down again for violating Twitter terms of service by announcing the Nairobi attack and taking credit for it. Al Shabaab had that account shut down on September 6th for more Terms of Service violations but the terrorist group started a new account on September 10th. Last February al Shabaab began using a new Twitter account and criticized Twitter for shutting down al Shabaab’s original (since 2011) account on January 20 because the Islamic terrorists had used Twitter to make specific threats against several people on January 16th. This is not allowed by the Twitter terms of service. The al Shabaab account had over 20,000 followers.


September 16, 2013: Some 30 kilometers north of Mogadishu peacekeepers and Somali troops forced al Shabaab out of Mahadeey. The town is one of dozens of small places still held by al Shabaab gunmen. Al Shabaab rarely fights to hold onto these places anymore and flees at the approach of troops. The al Shabaab men will find some other place to set up shop. If cornered, groups like this will often fight to the death.


Uganda has ordered 24 of its peacekeepers to return home tomorrow and face charges of corruption. Those recalled include some officers, one them was the general commanding the Ugandan peacekeepers, whose next job was to be the military attaché at the Ugandan embassy in Kenya.  The soldiers were caught stealing supplies meant for Ugandan peacekeepers and selling the food and fuel on the black market. Some junior officers reported suspicions that some of their superiors in Somalia were involved. The Ugandan troops had been complaining of shortages and the government quietly conducted an investigation.


September 14, 2013: Al Shabaab fired on a peacekeeper base outside Marka (70 kilometers south of Mogadishu) and apparently set off a bomb inside the town. Although AU peacekeepers and Somali troops drove al Shabaab gunmen out of the port town of Marka a year ago, there are still armed al Shabaab operating in the area. This town has long served as a base for al Shabaab terrorists carrying out attacks in Mogadishu.  


September 13, 2013: In Kismayo, some al Shabaab gunmen attacked a military base. No casualties were reported but there were believed to be dead and wounded on both sides.


September 12, 2013: In Kismayo a car bomb exploded near the convoy of Ahmed Mohamed Islam (the senior government official in the southern region now called Jubbaland). Several civilians were killed but the intended target was unharmed. It’s not known if the attack was carried out by al Shabaab or local political rivals of Ahmed Mohamed Islam.


In the south (Al Baate) an American (Omar Shafik Hammami) member of al Shabaab was killed in a shootout with other al Shabaab members. Hammami has been with al Shabaab since 2006 and handled Internet propaganda for the terrorist group. Last year he was condemned to death by al Shabaab leaders who objected to Hammami accusing them of corruption. Six months ago the U.S. announced a $5 million reward for help in capturing Hammami, who has been hiding out in Somalia, apparently unable to get out of the country. Islamic terrorists with a large price on their heads and condemned to death by their fellow terrorists have limited options when it comes to finding sanctuary. There were many other Islamic terrorists, including some al Shabaab members, who supported Hammami. Apparently two of these allies died with Hammami. Some terrorist groups criticized al Shabaab for killing Hammami rather than clearing up the corruption charges.


September 11, 2013: Near the Ethiopian border (Hiran, central Somalia) al Shabaab executed two of its own men, one for spying and the other for armed robbery.


September 9, 2013: In Mogadishu al Shabaab fired mortars at a residential areas and an army base. There were no casualties.


September 8, 2013: In Mogadishu al Shabaab used a roadside bomb to attack a military convoy, but only managed to damage one vehicle.


September 7, 2013: In Mogadishu al Shabaab set off two bombs in a parking lot, killing 18 people.


September 3, 2013: Outside Mogadishu al Shabaab used a roadside bomb to attack a convoy carrying the president. The target was unharmed.

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