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I was misquoted, Somalia President says on report 200 KDF troops killed in El Adde

The Somalia President has denied reports that he said between 180 and 200 KDF troops were killed by al Shabaab in El Adde on January 15.

Through spokesman Daud Awes, Hassan Mohamud said he was “misquoted” and that he did not not mean the figures were of soldiers massacred in the ambush.

Mohamoud said he was only describing the size of a camp and the number of soldiers believed to have been present during the attack.

He told Somali Cable TV during an interview last Thursday that: “When 180 or close to 200 soldiers who were sent to us are killed in one day in Somalia, it is not easy.”

“The soldiers had been sent to help us get peace in our country and their families are convinced that they died while on duty.”

Sources at Villa Somalia (State House) said the retraction followed a protest letter to Mogadishu in which Kenya termed the claims “grossly out of order”.

KDF spokesman David Obonyo told the Star on phone on Thursday that the matter of the number of casualties in the ambush should not be trivialised

He said he has not talked to any media house about the number of troops killed.

“We should stop trivializing the dead . They are not mere statistics. They ought to be treated with honour and respect,” he said.

“The number the Somalia president quoted is way beyond a company size.”

A company is a military unit led by a Major or Captain, comprising three platoons each commanded by a Lieutenant with a total number of between 80 and 250.

Mohamoud mentioned the figures during an interview concerning his recent visit to Kenya soon after an attack on Lido beach attack in Mogadishu.

He joined President Uhuru Kenyatta and Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari in honouring slain Kenya Defence Forces in Eldoret.

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Kenya seizes UN trucks for allegedly ferrying food to Al-Shabaab

Kenyan authorities are holding three UN World Food Programmed (WFP) trucks in Mandera County near the Somali border for allegedly ferrying food supplies to Islamist militants Al-Shabaab in the Horn of Africa nation.

Mandera County Commissioner Fredrick Shisia said Tuesday the security agents seized the trucks stashed with food items destined for Dolo in the Horn of Africa nation.

Shisia said WFP workers have started supplying food rations to the Al-Shabaab militants following a meeting at Bulla Hawa by Somali authorities.

“Following a meeting between Somalia National Army, Transitional Federal government officials and the Bulla Hawa community they agreed the Al-Shabaab also be given food rations from WFP, the government cannot allow this to happen as criminals who continue killing our people cannot be fed,” said Shisia.

He said the government which has been fighting the insurgents in southern Somalia will not allow food to be supplied to the same militants whom its troops have been fighting.

Shisia said the lorries which were held on Sunday will continue being under police custody until WFP clarifies its position.

The government administrator said the government is yet to receive WFP position on the issue and that the trucks will continue being detained.

“We will need to get an explanation from the WFP as to who are to who sole beneficiary of the food programme before we allow it to get into Somalia,” Shisia said.

The county boss disclosed that a truck that was in the same convoy and carrying a land cruiser was allowed to proceed to Dolo.

“We allowed the truck to proceed as this was not food, what we are doing is to deny our enemy benefit from the humanitarian assistance,” Shisia said.

There was no comment from the UN WFP officials in Nairobi.

Kenya’s security forces have intensified patrols along its porous border with Somalia after the Somali militants attacked its base in Gedo region, killing several soldiers.

The Kenyan military has confirmed the deaths, but did not give the number of those killed in the Jan. 15 attack, saying efforts to “consolidate” returns from the battlefield were still ongoing.

However, Al-Shabaab forces said that more than 100 Kenyan soldiers were killed and several others injured a statement that has been disputed by AMISOM.

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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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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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Kenyan forces accused of targeting civilians in Gedo after El Adde attack

The Kenyan Defense Forces have been accused of targeting civilians in its latest operation in the southern Somali region of Gedo following last week’s ambush by the militant group Al Shabab on a Kenyan military camp of El Adde in the same region.

More KDF have been deployed in Somalia since El Ade attack so search and rescue the missing soldiers in Somalia.

Unknown number of Kenyan soldiers were killed in the attack that was allegedly caused by security blunder by the forces. The dawn attack was described as the worst since Kenyan forces moved in to Somalia to pursue Al Shabab.

Elders in the Gedo region, while speaking to Radio Goobjoog that is based in Mogadishu said the Kenyan forces have killed civilians and displaced villagers in El Adde and neighboring areas. They said they would hold the Kenyan government accountable.

“If they (KDF) think that no one will hold them responsible for this crime, then they should be aware that we have international platforms to seek justice,” Elder Dahir Adan said.

Kenyan war planes started pounding villages around the El Adde camps three days after the attack was reported. According to KDF statement, they targeted areas they deemed to be Al Shabab hide-outs.

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Somalia attack turns symbol of resurgence into one of grief

Among the survivors of al-Shabab’s attack on a beachside restaurant in Somalia’s capital was Mohamed Abdiqani Kheyre. He is only 3 years old, and his mother was killed.

Witnesses said the Islamic extremists entered the restaurant from the beach Thursday evening, shouting “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” as they fired at people indiscriminately.

On Friday, relatives were identifying the dead, who numbered around 20. The bodies were laid out on the sand, their heads covered by yellow tablecloths, many soaked with blood. Some family members burst into tears upon discovering the body of a loved one.

The beach, which symbolized the resurgence of Somalia’s capital in recent years with people flocking to the shore and swimming in the Indian Ocean, had become a scene of bottomless grief.

One woman beat her chest, whispering the name of her son who was killed in the attack. She collapsed as his bloodied body was transported into an ambulance.

“They randomly fired at people sitting near the beach before entering the restaurant,” said Ahmed Nur, who was strolling along the shoreline when the attack happened. A party had been taking place when the attack started.

After identifying the dead, relatives carried bodies away.

The Liido Seafood restaurant was littered with blood-stained, overturned chairs, tables, shoes and bullet casings, the walls scarred from bullet impacts and blackened with soot.

The attack came a week after al-Shabab overran a Kenyan army base in Somalia, signaling the group’s resilience despite military setbacks inflicted by a U.S.-backed regional force operating in the country.

On a normal Friday, Liido Beach would be packed with hundreds of people surfing, swimming and strolling along the white sand. On this day, armed soldiers stood guard near the beach. Fishing boats that would normally transport picnickers drifted at anchor in the blue waters.

“It’s a sad day, whenever a hope comes up it gets dashed by such attacks. This city’s future is precarious,” said Mumina Ahmed, a Somali-American who returned to Mogadishu last week after 14 years in Virginia.

Somali Security Minister Abdirizak Omar Mohamed said the suspected leader of the attack has been arrested.

The assault on civilians relaxing along the beachfront echoed an attack by an Islamic extremist at a tourist beach in Tunisia last year. Several dozen people, mostly Britons, died in that slaughter.

Survivors of the Liido Seafood attack said that militants forced restaurant’s guests onto the ground before randomly killing them.

“I hid myself downstairs in the bathroom until troops came to my rescue. It was a terrible night,” said Abdiqani Guled

Mohamed was wounded in the attack, and on Friday the little boy’s right arm and neck were bandaged as he lay on a hospital bed, as a new generation came to know the violence that has afflicted this Horn of Africa nation for more than two decades.

His aunt, Halima Hassan, tended to Mohamed, who gazed up at her with big eyes.

The security forces took control of the restaurant just before dawn, said Capt. Mohamed Hussein, speaking from the scene.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, in a broadcast on its online radio late Thursday.

Some people spent terrifying hours at the scene, not knowing if they would live to see the dawn.

“I was intending to go out but suddenly we heard a heavy explosion followed by gunfire. … I saw a militant fighter shooting indiscriminately at everybody. Then I locked myself inside a room until we were evacuated peacefully by the security forces,” said Abdulkadir Mohamed Somow, who had been trapped inside the restaurant.

Blasts and bursts of gunfire could be heard as Somali special forces went from room to room, pursuing the al-Shabab gunmen.

Hussein, the police official, said security forces rescued many people who had been trapped.

While al-Shabab fighters fled Mogadishu in 2011 under pressure from an African Union military force, they have managed to carry out sporadic bombings and shootings in the capital and launch coordinated attacks against AU forces in the countryside.

Al-Shabab attacked Kenyan peacekeepers in southwestern Somalia last week, and overran their base. The al-Qaida-linked group said it had killed about 100 Kenyans and seized weapons and military vehicles. The Kenyan government has given no death toll.

 

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