On the early hours of Monday morning, January 13, al Shabab fighters stormed a small town in eastern Kenya, near the border with Somalia, killing three teachers and abducted others.
The al Shabab fighters also set fire to a police station and destroyed a telecommunications mast. According to local reports, the attackers spared the life of a female nurse due to her gender.
Since Kenyan troops entered Somalia in October 2011 to fight the al Qaeda-linked group after it blamed the group of a series of kidnappings , al Shabab has carried out more than 150 attacks on Kenyan soil, targeting buses, schools, police stations, schools and shopping malls, killing hundreds.
The most brutal were attack s on a Kenyan army camp in El Adde killing 200 soldiers in 2016, a 2015 attack on a Kenyan college campus that killed 148 people, a 2013 attack on a mall in Nairobi that killed at least 67, and a 2019 attack on a hotel in Nairobi that killed 21 people.
Al Shabab has seen the presence of Kenya troops in Somalia as invasion and it singled out the country as a soft target. The government has invested in the army’s operation in Somalia while giving leeway to Shabab attacks inside Kenya.
The al Qaeda-affiliated group has stepped up its attacks both in Kenya and Somalia in the last few months.
The Kenyan security forces are bureaucratic and under-resourced. There have been intelligence failures of Kenyan intelligence agencies, and security forces’ slow and shambolic response, and al Shabab sees these weaknesses and takes advantage.
Al Shabab wants to terrorise Kenyans and mobilise its supporters and turn Kenyans against each other to create religious division. While carrying out attacks in Kenya, al Shabab mainly targets Christians, and in Somalia, they kill fellow Muslims.
Last week, the group attacked a joint US-Kenya military base in Lamu and killed three Americans, a soldier and two contractors. The attack on the Manda Bay Airfield was al Shabab’s first attack against US forces in Kenya.
At least four students have been killed by al Shabab fighters at a school in Garissa county.
On January 2, al Shabab killed four people when it attacked a convoy of buses in Lamu.
In December, the group killed 11 people including 8 police officers after pulling them from a passenger bus along Wajir-Mandera Road. Also, in December, five security forces were killed when their vehicle ran over a roadside bomb in Wajir. In Garissa, two construction workers were killed.
Al-Shabab’s offensive shows it is recovering after suffering high casualties from US drone strikes and pressure form the African Union forces.
Last year, the group carried out an attack on a US-run military base in Baledogle in southern Somalia.
Al-Shabab is fighting to topple the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu, and implement its own version of Islamic law.
Formed in 2006, its initial aim was to fight Ethiopian troops after the overthrow of the Islamic Courts Union that ruled most of the southern and central parts of the Horn of Africa country.
Since then, it has been fighting successive Somali governments and the African Union troops stationed in the country.
It has been driven out of Mogadishu and other major cities by Somali forces backed by African Union troops, but it is still capable of carrying out high-profile attacks within and outside of Somalia. It has carried out attacks in several neighbouring countries, but Kenya, its western neighbour, has been the most vulnerable, despite the US significantly increasing airstrikes against the group and broadened its troop presence and involvement in Somalia in 2017.
Supreme Court of Somalia to hear election-related cases
The Supreme Court of Somalia announced it will hear cases related to elections. Chief Justice Bashe Yusuf Ahmed said it would be illegal for the federal and state governments not to allow the courts to adjudicate over election cases.
“The Supreme Court is ready to hear any appeal that arises from an administrative decision made by the electoral commissions,” Bashe said.
Bashe was speaking at a judicial conference held in Mogadishu.
The Horn of Africa nation is preparing for parliamentary and peesidential elections in September and October respectively.
Somalia has no constitutional court but there is an electoral dispute resolution committee.
Former foreign minister joins race for Villa Somalia
Former Foreign minister Fawzia Adam becomes the firs female candidate to announce her candidature for Somalia presidency. Fawzia, who became Somalia’s first and only woman foreign minister and Deputy Prime Minister in 2012, said she is joining the race for Villa Somalia to change the course of the country’s politics. More than 30 other candidates have expressed their interest for the top job. She leads the National Democratic Party.
“My sole aim is to breath a new lease of life into Somalia. Our political ideology and believes are at the heart and soul of our political trajectory in deciding the best way Forward for my nation,” Fawzia said.
“Our people are known for their dynamism, resilience and fruitful thinking when it comes to business. If they are encouraged, the country will surely get rapid development and investment,” she added.
She is running on an anti-corruption platform. Fawzia hails from Somaliland. The Horn of Africa nation will hold presidential elections on October 10.
As foreign minister, Fawzia was instrumental in Somalia’s quest to recover state properties that had been frozen by foreign administrations, institutions and firms after the collapse of Somalia’s central government in 1991 in order to prevent unauthorized use, and began a formal assessment and recovery process of Somali national assets, which include ships and planes that are believed to be held in Italy, Germany and Yemen.
Farmajo congratulation Abiy Ahmed on his election victory
Somali President Mohamed Farmaajo has congratulated Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed whose party won the just-concluded elections in Ethiopia.
Somalia will continue to work with the government of Abiy Ahmed to further strengthen bilateral relations and benefit peoples of the two countries and the wider region, Farmajo said in a statement.
“I warmly congratulate PM Abiy Ahmed on regaining a strong mandate from the people of Ethiopia,” Farmaajo said.
Abiy’s new Prosperity Party won 410 out of 436 seats, according to electoral body.
Ethiopia has thousands of troops in Somalia under Amisom, the African Union Mission in Somalia, fighting al Shabab group. Since assuming office in 2018, Abiy has been supportive of the Somali Federal Government unlike his predecessors who supported regional administrations against the government in Mogadishu.
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