NEWS

Cameroon: Christians and Muslims unite against Boko Haram

Following a spate of suicide bomb attacks on mosques and churches, Christians in Cameroon have resorted to guarding mosques during prayer sessions and Muslims have also started guarding churches.

Recently, at a mosque on Cameroon’s northern border with Nigeria, two female suicide bombers detonated explosives, killing at least 10 people.

There have been a spate of attacks on mosques by suspected Boko Haram fighters and Christians and Muslims have decided to join hands to fight what they call a common enemy, reports suggest.

Boko Haram has previously targeted Christians in its jihad campaign.

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Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau (centre)

According to VOA, at a recent morning prayer call in the central mosque at Mozogo, on the border with Nigeria, “the faithful assembled while members of the local vigilante committee kept guard to ensure no stranger is given access”.

The Governor Midjiyawa Bakari reportedly congratulated Christians and Muslims for working together to protect the country from the terrorist group and urged others in the country to follow the example.

There have been various cases of Christians and Muslims working together despite their religious differences.

Recently, in a development which was hailed as a gesture fostering stronger interfaith relations, about 100 Ugandan Christians living in the U.S. raised about shillings 12.6 million ($3,600) to help renovate a crumbling Namayiba mosque, in Uganda.

A bus in Kenya was attacked by al-Shabaab militants. The militants were targeting Christian passengers but the Kenyan Muslims managed to shield the Christian passengers, reportedly telling the attackers they were prepared to die together, in a show of bravery and religious solidarity.

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mpeketoni-terror-suspects-to-stand-trial again

A Mombasa court will proceed with a case in which two men are charged with mass murders in Mpeketoni, Lamu.
The High Court put the duo on their defence in connection with the June 15, 2014 slaughter of 60 men and a woman in carnage claimed by Al Shabaab. High Court Judge Martin Muya yesterday said Mahadi Swaleh Mahadi alias Jesus and Diana Salim Suleiman have a case to answer. State witnesses told the court Mr Suleiman hired the vehicles that ferried the attackers. They also claimed he participated in the murders and was in contact with the militants before and after the killings. The witnesses accused him of misleading investigators that he left his cellphone in Malindi as a ruse to mask his movements. A survivor of the slaughter said Suleiman was among the killers. Justice Muya said: “I have perused the evidence adduced in the court during the trial and found that the prosecution has established a prima facie against the accused.” Their lawyers, immediately announced that they would call witnesses to demolish the State’s case arguing Mr Mahadi and Suleiman had no connection to the violence and were not at the scene on day of the
killings.
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mpeketoni suspects Diana Suleiman (left) and Mahadi swaleh Mahadi at High court in Mombasa

Taib Ali Taib, Mahadi’s lawyer, said his client would call 10 witnesses to prove that he was not among the militants while Suleiman’s lawyer, A B Olaba, told the court that his client would call three witnesses. During the trial, a single witness who testified under protection and cannot be named due to a court sanctioned gag order, said he saw Suleiman among the attackers. Early yesterday the witness said men in jungle uniform stormed his house. “Before I could start the journey to the village elder, they tied my hands with a rope and started hurling all sorts of insults at me as we walked to the place they were headed to,” said the witness. The witness recalled that on their way one of the attackers suggested they visit a woman who sold alcohol in the area and confusion ensued. The witness escaped. Suleiman has told the court that he was hijacked in his vehicle in Witu and injured by the attackers who forced him to ferry them to Mpeketoni. He said he was arrested after seeking treatment at a Lamu hospital. Mahad said he was in Malindi on the said day, although his cellphone records brought to court by the State indicated he was in Mpeketoni on the dreadful night
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Ban-ki-moon praises Somalia election plan

 UN Secretary-General Ban- Ki-moon has praised Somalia’s government for agreeing Thursday to hold elections this year to a new two-chamber parliament in which women will hold nearly a third of seats.

The new federal parliament will hold elections “based on inclusivity and representation,” Ban said in a statement welcoming the decision.

The UN chief “particularly applauds the commitment to representation of women and minority groups, including that women will comprise 30 percent of the next parliament,” the statement said.

The members of the new parliament will not be chosen by direct vote, and Ban called for a “roadmap towards universal suffrage in Somalia by 2020” as part of Somalia’s transition to democracy.

UN special envoy Michael Keating said Thursday’s decision by the Somali cabinet, which capped nearly six months of intense negotiations, “may be a watershed moment.”

The move marks “the growing political maturity of a federal Somalia,” Keating told the UN Security Council, adding that the new electoral model was devised by Somalis and would be led by them.

The new parliament will consist of a 275-seat lower house and an upper chamber of 54 members.

The lower house will be elected based on a power-sharing formula between clans, said Keating.

The upper chamber provides for “equal representation of the existing, emerging and prospective federal member states and the allocation of additional seats” for breakaway Puntland and Somaliland, he said.

Somalia is struggling to return to representative rule after beating back Shebab Islamists from Mogadishu in mid-2011.

The Shebab, which is fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government in Mogadishu, carries out regular attacks in the capital, as well as against African Union troops in the countryside.

 

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Hassan sheikh meets kenya’s parliamentary committee

The President of Somali  Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Wednesday held a three-hour, closed door meeting with Kenya’s Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations in Eldoret.

Sources privy to the meeting told the Nation the meeting discussed the progress so far made in improving security in Somalia since the attack on the Kenyan troops in El-Adde on January 15.

The Parliamentary team was headed by its chairman, Tetu MP James Gethenji.

The meeting at Boma Inn Hotel was also attended by Somali Ambassador to Kenya Jamal Mohamed Hassan.

 

ROLE IN AMISOM

 

Mr Gethenji has said his team will launch investigations into the assault and interrogate Kenya’s role in the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).

 

“We want to see debate brought to the floor of Parliament where we will discuss Kenya’s lead role in liberating Somalia,” said the MP.

Mr Gethenji is on record saying the operation has achieved significant gains, but time has come to “rethink and re look at the challenges.”

He added that they will run a parallel inquiry to the one being conducted by the Kenya Defence Forces.

Mr Mohamud arrived at 11:30am, escorted by Deputy President William Ruto and other leaders including Uasin Gishu governor Jackson Mandago.

Mr Ruto later left the hotel for Eldoret International Airport to receive President Uhuru Kenyatta and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

Security around the hotel was beefed up, with uniformed and plain clothes officers stationed inside and outside, to boost security teams accompanying the Somali head of State

 

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President Kenyatta says kenya to Remain in Somalia peace

President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Wednesday Kenya was committed to remaining part of an African Union-led peacekeeping force in Somalia, after al Shabaab militants said they killed more than 100 soldiers in an attack on an army base.

The Islamist militants attacked the remote base close to the border with Kenya on Jan. 15, killing soldiers and seizing military equipment. Kenya has declined to say how many died.

“This is not the time to waiver or to listen to the voices of defeat and despair,” Kenyatta told a televised memorial service for the dead soldiers, attended by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari.

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We fight because our cause is just, because we want to restore a productive peace in Somalia and we also wish to protect ourselves from an enemy that would seek to destroy us.”

The main opposition party in Kenya has called for the withdrawal of troops from Somalia but Kenyatta said Kenya was committed to bringing stability to the neighbouring country.

African Union troops, now numbering about 22,000 from several African nations, have spent nearly a decade battling al Shabaab in Somalia, a country mired in conflict since civil war broke out in 1991.

Al Shabaab, which seeks to overthrow the Western-backed government in Mogadishu, often says its attacks against Kenyan targets are retaliation for its participation in the force, known as AMISOM, which also includes Uganda and Burundi.

The al Qaeda-aligned militants have been driven out of major strongholds in Somalia by AMISOM and Somali army offensives, but the group still controls some rural areas and often launches guerrilla-style assaults and bomb attacks.

Mohamoud repeatedly thanked the Kenyan people for their assistance in his government’s fight against al Shabaab, which he called “barbaric devils.”

“I want to assure you, we will defeat them,” he said.

Buhari, whose country also faces an Islamist insurgency from the group Boko Haram, expressed solidarity with Kenya, saying Nigerians “share your pain and grief.”

Newspaper pictures of coffins draped with Kenyan flags bringing back dead soldiers from the attack have increased pressure on Kenyatta and his military chiefs.

Al Shabaab has published photos which purport to show the bodies of dozens of Kenyan soldiers. Most appear to have been shot in the head.

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opinion

Veteran Somali journalist dies, aged 80

BY: Ali Haji :

Somali legend and  most celebrated veteran journalists has died suddenly at a hospital in the Somali capital Tuesday, family announced.

Abdi Haji Gobdon, a pioneering long-time journalist as well as a former government spokesman has died after a brief illness at Daru Shifa hospital, his brother Abukar Gobdon announced.

His work largely focused on patriotism and promoting peace in a desperate attempt to educate the seaside capital’s population, majority of them a young generation about peace.

Tributes have been paid to the prominent journalist whose family said had no history of illness apart from a long-running breath complications prior to his death.

Mr. Gobdon worked in both the print and broadcast media.  He was well-known for his radio programs in 1980s which he had started on early 1960s soon after the horn of Africa nation gained its independence.

His former colleagues note that Mr. Gobdon had a passion for broadcasting, a talent which has drawn the admiration of the Somalis for the journalist.

His fans included the former Somali president Mohamed Siad Barre who later appointed him as his spokesman, according to his former colleagues described him as a ‘towering’ and ‘talented’ journalist.

Many of his colleagues recalled his stature in the field of journalism.

His death has been met with touching tributes on the social media as thousands of Somalis paid their respects to the late journalist, saying that his death was an enormous loss in particular for the media
fraternity and the nation in general.

 

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Journalist Yassin Juma defends one-finger salute after release

Journalist-cum-blogger Yassin Juma was released Monday afternoon and found himself having to explain a hand sign he made on Sunday which many claimed was used by terrorists.

He was taken to Kiambu law courts and returned to Muthaiga police station without any charges.

Juma took to his Facebook to announce his freedom, posing for a photo with two friends while making the one-finger sign.

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‘FREE AT LAST’

He wrote: “Am (sic) Free at last. Thank You Everyone For your support. I appreciate all your efforts following my arrest and detention.”

He went on: “And for those asking what the index finger stands for, it is a sign used to indicate the oneness of God and that our tribulations in this world can only be solved by that one good Lord. God is one and no other entity/being is as powerful, merciful and Magnificent as he is.”

Juma was on Saturday night arrested over photos he posted on his blog and social media accounts on the attack by Al-Shabaab militants on a Kenyan military camp in El-Adde, Somalia.

Mr Juma was on Sunday grilled by detectives over the photos.

ARRESTED AT NIGHT

He was arrested at his residence in Donholm estate, Nairobi, on Saturday at around 8pm by eight officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters and taken to the Muthaiga police station.

“I was from the hospital when I was arrested by eight police officers in two cars. They took me to my house where they conducted a search before they escorted me to the police station,” he told Nation at the police station.

Many had alleged that the one finger signal was used by Al-Shabaab and ISIS.

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mr Yassin (centre) after he was released and colleagues

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