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Britain lifts travel advisory on Nairobi's Eastleigh residential estate

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https://hiiraan.com/images/logo/Xinhua.jpg
Monday April 24, 2017
By Chrispinus Omar

Eastleigh is a suburb of Nairobi, Kenya. It is located east of the central business district. Predominantly inhabited by Somali immigrants, it has been described as "Little Mogadishu". FILE PHOTO


NAIROBI, April 24 (Xinhua) -- The British government on Monday removed travel advice against travel to Nairobi's Eastleigh residential estate largely inhabited by ethnic Somali people of Kenyan origin.

The travel advisory against travelling to Eastleigh, also known as Little Mogadishu, has been in place for some time and has been devastating for foreign traders frequenting the area.

"The British government will, today, remove the travel advisory against all but essential travel to the Eastleigh area of Nairobi," the British embassy in Nairobi
 said in a statement.

"In addition, we will also make changes to the language and format of UK travel advice around the world, including, but not limited to, travel advice for Kenya," it said.
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The embassy said following public consultation in the UK, the British government is amending the language used to describe the terrorist threat in countries and territories, to make it clearer, consistent and more specific.

"These changes are simply to format and language," the embassy said. "There is no change in the UK government's assessment of the level of threat from terrorism in Kenya."

It said Britons remain free to make their own decisions regarding travel based on the information available.

There are still some travel advisories in place for various areas in Kenya with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) still recommending against all but essential travel to areas within 60 km of the Kenya-Somali border, Garissa County; Lamu County (excluding Lamu Island and Manda Island); areas of Tana River County north of the Tana river itself; and within 15 km of the coast from the Tana river down to the Galana (Athi-Galana-Sabaki) river.

Among areas British tourists are allowed to visit are the Aberdare National Park, Amboseli, Laikipia, Lake Nakuru, Masai Mara, Meru and Mount Kenya.

British tourists are also allowed to sample attractions in Samburu, Shimba Hills, and Tsavo as well as book reservations at beach resorts in Mombasa, Malindi, Kilifi, Watamu, and Diani.

Britain is concerned about terrorism threats, especially from extremists linked to al Shabaab, who are against the country's military operation in Somalia.

Early this year, Kenya asked Western countries to lift their advisories to their citizens against visiting Kenya, saying such advisories were unjustified, citing the reduction of terrorist attacks in the region.


Al-Qaeda or ISIS? Shabaab militants fight

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SUNDAY APRIL 23 2017 

A file photo taken on February 17, 2011 shows Al-Shabaab Islamists doing drills at a village in Lower Shebelle region in Somalia. The group is loyal to Al-Qaeda. PHOTO | ABDURASHID ABDULLE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 
http://www.nation.co.ke/image/view/-/1951494/medRes/593478/-/12ubx1pz/-/General+Image.jpgBy FRED MUKINDA
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Security agencies have been placed on high alert after fighting broke out among Al-Shabaab factions in Somalia, with some militants fleeing to Kenya.
Some Al-Shabaab commanders want to remain committed to Al-Qaeda while a new crop of leaders want to be allied to the Syrian-based Islamic State group.
The war broke on April 15 when Al-Shabaab executed Sheikh Said Bulbul and Abu Karim, who ranked high in the organisation’s hierarchy.
The two had sworn allegiance to IS.
EXECUTIONS
Soon, Al-Shabaab, which years ago joined Al-Qaeda, started what security agencies described as cleansing of militants who could not be trusted, most of them foreign fighters.
Ahmed Yusuf Hassan, 26 and Ahmed Nur Abdi Osoble, 20 — both Kenyans — were executed by firing squad at Buq Aqable in Hiraan region on March 27.
Other Kenyans killed include a fugitive identified as Asum from Majengo, Nairobi, Omambia Jared, a former Moi University student, and Faraj Abdumajid from Mombasa.
SPIES KILLED
Al-Shabaab squads also publicly beheaded four foreign fighters in Lower Juba, accusing them of spying for the Kenya Defence Forces and Somali National Army.
Civilians suspected of spying by the terrorists have not been spared either.
Security sources say at present, only one Kenyan is in the good books of the terrorist organisation.
Ahmed Iman, a former Kenyatta University student who grew up in Majengo, Nairobi, is in-charge of prosecutions and executions.
He was previously in charge of Al-Shabaab propaganda on the internet.
Iman is a common figure in internet videos, and if often seen wearing military fatigues and taunting the KDF and AU missions in Somalia.
Kenyan soldiers entered Somalia in October 2011 to neutralise the Al-Shabaab threat.
POLICE REMAIN VIGILANT
A confidential dispatch seen by the Nation says security agencies have been placed on alert after an audio recording by Abu Musab, an Al-Shabaab militant, was intercepted.
In the clip, he is seen castigating the execution of the two and pledging loyalty to IS.
The audio urges recruits to join a new faction of Al-Shabaab called Dini ya Kiislamu Super Power or DKSP.
Security agencies say the faction is headed by a Sheikh Mumin.
According to estimates, he has 1,035 followers in Kenya.
Seven are known to security agencies and are on the police list of the country’s wanted terrorists.



KENYA: Militant groups lure youth into terrorism, sex slavery

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https://www.hiiraan.com/images/logo/DailyNation.jpg
Sunday April 23, 2017

Muslim scholars hold a forum on counter-radicalisation on October 10, 2015 in Mombasa. University students are being recruited into terrorist groups. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

A significant number of youth who have been pursuing degrees in Kenyan universities have ended up in ruin, after they fell into the trap of terrorists, Sunday Nation can reveal.

The young men have been killed in battles in Libya while the young women were sold off as sex slaves to terrorist militants and are now struggling to return home.

The Nation has learnt that security agencies – Kenya Police Service, Immigration department, Directorate of Criminal Investigations, National Intelligence Service, Probation Department and Kenya Prisons – are grappling with the calls for youngsters who have survived the terror network and are willing to return home.

TERROR ATTACK
A confidential dispatch shared among security agencies in Kenya and seen by the Sunday Nation paints a grim picture of the youngsters’ life in the hands of terrorists.

The most prominent are Farah Dagane Hassan, 26, and Hiish Ahmed Ali, 25, who were medical interns at Kitale hospital, and were killed in Libya during a sting operation against Islamic State terrorists.

Months before, they were labelled wanted terrorists and a Sh4 million bounty placed on their heads after they were linked to planned biological terror attacks in Kenya.

Ashur Mahfoudh Ashur and Abdi Sharif Makbul have also died in battle after they were recruited by terrorists.

Deputy secretary for Internal security Thomas Sakah last Tuesday said universities had become centres of radicalisation and recruitment by terrorists in Somalia and Syria.

UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
Security agencies in Kenya are more concerned about others still at large.

They include Anthony Kiprop Rotich aka Abdul Hakim Kiprotich, Hassan Ahmed Waqo Bonaya and Mahmoaud Mohamed Abubakar Mbarak who all studied at Moi University.

Kiprotich was a fourth year entrepreneurship student.

The security dispatch describes him as “the humble young man from Kaptembwa, Nakuru, who converted to Islam while at the university at the behest of Isis recruiters.

It is believed that these recruiters brainwashed him into accepting to travel to Libya to join the group.

The 23-year-old was last seen on June 8, 2015. He called his mother while in Sudan informing her he was en route to a better place.”

The government has given priority to six youngsters whom it believes are at behest of terrorists.

“The world is grappling with a rise in radicalisation and movement of youth to terrorist theatres of Syria, Libya and Somalia.

"Members of the public must be on the lookout for radical elements who are seeking to mislead Kenyan youth and send them to terrorist arenas.

"While this trend is not rampant in Kenya as has been observed in other countries, some Kenyan youth have left the country to fight alongside Isis terrorists,” the dispatch reads.

BETTER LIFE
According to the police, Samiha Swaleh Awadh Noor alias Sameer, Shindeys Abey Noor aka Osman Shindey Noor, Khalida Dahir Adan aka Twafiga Dahir and her friend Salwa Abdalla made a trip to join Isis in Syria.

Currently, a number of parents have approached the government after they received phone calls from cartels in Libya demanding money in exchange for their children.

Most of the victims are young women whose “supposed husbands” died in battle.

The dispatch names Firthoza Ali Ahmed aka Firdaus, a Kenyan who underwent harrowing experiences in her travel to Syria.

“After being brainwashed and promised a better life, she decided to travel in March 2015. In the company of Zeitun Ali Ahmed, Firthoza began her journey to join Isis in Syria via Turkey.

"Aisha Saleh, who also travelled to Syria, shares the same distressing experience.

"The former student at Abu Hureira Secondary School in Mombasa was married off to an Isis fighter,” the dispatch says.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING
The report also reveals a terror link to human trafficking and human organs harvesting criminal networks.

It says: “For those who are weak and whose organs cannot be harvested nor be sold to Isis, ransom is demanded from their families.”

The reports identifies the Magafe network, a human trafficking cartel that Isis depends on for the transportation of recruits.

So far, investigations have established 10 routes used by the Magafe network to transports terror recruits from Kenya to Syria and Libya.


Al-Shabaab defeated militarily—US

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https://www.hiiraan.com/images/logo/NewVision.jpg
Saturday April 22, 2017

Lt Gen Osman Noor Soubagleh, the commander of AMISOM, said Al-Shabaab consists of native Somalis and some foreign fighters.

Senior US military officers have said from the military side, African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) has defeated Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab.

They were on Thursday addressing a telephonic press conference at the end of the African Chiefs of Defense conference that took place in Stuttgart, Germany from 18-20 April.

Lt Gen Osman Noor Soubagleh, the commander of AMISOM, said Al-Shabaab consists of native Somalis and some foreign fighters.

"Whenever you fight, they melt with the population and they have not confronted the AMISOM. And we at the AMISOM, we are human.  We look after the humanitarian and the human rights of the indigenous," he said. 

Soubagleh stated that that was the reason they were taking time. "Because we know the law of (inaudible) is for this.  So, Al-Shabaab has no stronghold.  But we avoid them to take collateral damage with the civilians. That is why Al-Shabaab is now dividing."

Praises AMISOM 
Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the commander of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), said from his perspective, AMISOM, which has been in Somalia for over 10 years, has contributed a lot.

"They (AMISOM fighters) have taken a lot of casualties over that time.  They have removed Al-Shabaab from a lot of that country in terms of various locations," he said.

He noted that the time is for Somalia National Army and Somalia National Security Forces to begin to prepare that eventuality (of taking over security) will come at some point in time.

"And I think the key is, that we really concentrate our efforts on training the Somali National Army Forces," Waldhauser added.

He explained that their goal is that the Somali National Security Forces will be prepared to provide for their own security sometime in the 2020/21 when the next series of elections go.

AMISOM has grown from an initial deployment of 1,500 Ugandan soldiers in 2007 to a multi-national African force of over 21,000 soldiers, with troops from Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, and Uganda. Sierra Leone withdrew its battalion of troops in early 2015.


UK announces new support for security reform in Somalia

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Gov.uk
Saturday April 22, 2017

Ahead of the May 2017 London Somalia Conference, the UK welcomes Somali agreement of a National Security Architecture, and announces £21m in additional support.

On 17 April the Federal Government of Somalia and the Presidents of Somalia’s Federal Member States agreed a historic political agreement, to integrate regional and federal forces into a coherent National Security Architecture capable of gradually taking on lead responsibility for providing security.

The UK is playing a leading role in international support for improved security in Somalia, and will now provide an additional £21 million of funding.

This will complement existing UK support, including training by British Military personnel of Somali National Army and African Union forces, police mentoring, and work on stabilisation and Countering Violent Extremism.

Security will be a key theme of the London Somalia Conference on 11 May, which will bring together the new Somali Federal Government, Federal Member States and international partners to accelerate progress and to agree the new international partnership needed to keep Somalia on track towards increased peace and prosperity by 2020. Somalia will continue to need substantial support across security, political reform and economic and social development to secure and build on the progress it has made over the last five years.

At a time when half the Somali population are without reliable access to food, the Conference is an opportunity to step up the international response to the ongoing drought and humanitarian need. Continued international support is needed to prevent widespread famine, without which the political and security progress Somalia has made since 2012 could be set back. 


Kenyans sweep Boston Marathon titles, but Americans make progress

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https://www.hiiraan.com/images/logo/AP.jpg
Tuesday April 18, 2017
By Jimmy Golen

U.S. claims 6 of top 10 spots among men, 2 of top 4 women


Geoffrey Kirui, of Kenya, crosses the finish line to win the 121st Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

BOSTON - The Kenyans are back in Boston after a relative lull that saw them shut out in the world's most prestigious marathon twice in the past three years.

More surprisingly, so are the Americans.

Geoffrey Kirui won the 121st Boston Marathon on Monday, pulling away from three-time U.S. Olympian Galen Rupp with two miles to go to give Kenya its first men's victory in five years. Edna Kiplagat won the women's race to complete the Kenyan sweep.

They were followed closely by Americans who grabbed two of the top four women's spots and six of the top 10 for men - the first time that's happened since the race went professional in 1986.

"It's so exciting to see Americans being competitive here," said Rupp, the Olympic bronze medalist who was making his Boston debut. "It's a real exciting time. And it's awesome to see American distance running on the upswing and being competitive in these races."
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Kirui finished in 2 hours, 9 minutes, 37 seconds to claim a silver trophy, a guilded olive wreath from Marathon, Greece, and the $150,000 first prize. Rupp was 21 seconds back, with Japan's Suguru Osako 30 seconds behind him.

Rounding out the top 10 were runners from California, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon and Utah.

"American distance running is looking good today," said sixth-place finisher Abdi Abdirahman, a Somali immigrant and Tucson resident who is a four-time Olympian. "We have the podium for both men and women, so the future is great."

Kiplagat finished in 2:21:52 to win her Boston debut, adding the victory to two world championships and wins in London, New York and Los Angeles. She pulled ahead of Rose Chelimo of Bahrain in the Newton hills to win by 59 seconds.

American Jordan Hasay, making her first run at the 26.2-mile distance, was third, and Desi Linden was fourth - the first time since 1991 two U.S. women have finished in the top four.

"It keeps happening. We keep getting closer. We're putting more numbers in there, and it's just a matter of time," said Linden, the 2011 runner-up by 2 seconds. "When Americans break the tape, it's going to be a big deal here."

Kenya had won either the men's or women's race every year since 1991 before being shut out in 2014 and again last year. But Ethiopia surpassed its East African neighbors on Patriots' Day the past four years, earning its first sweep in 2016. Then in December, Kenyan Rita Jeptoo was stripped of her 2014 title for failing a drug test, and it was handed instead to Ethiopia's Buzunesh Deba.

For Kirui, even when he was running shorter distances, he had his eye on Boston.

"In my mind, I was sure that one day I would win this race," said Kirui, 25, who was running just his third marathon. "To come here to Boston, I knew I was going to face my colleagues who have run many times here. … I knew I would challenge some of the champions who have been competing here."


Air strikes kill over 100 Al-Shabaab militants in southern Somalia

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https://www.hiiraan.com/images/logo/Xinhua.jpg
Saturday April 15, 2017

MOGADISHU, April 15 (Xinhua) -- More than 100 Al-Shabaab militants including 20 commanders are believed to have been killed in southern Somalia by U.S. air strikes early Saturday, residents and officials said.
The residents and security officers said the warplanes targeted the militants' hideouts in Wargaduud and El-Adde where several Kenyan soldiers were killed by Al-Shabaab militants in January 2016.
Among senior Al-Shabaab commanders killed are Abdirahman Fillow and Abdirahman Ben Dutie in the dawn attack that also destroyed two vehicles bound explosive devices (VBIED) at Wargaduud. Dutie is from Marehanrer Dalal section.
"Yesterday (Friday) night at Wargaduud and El-Adde, U.S. airstrikes killed 20 Al-Shabaab commanders among them Abdirahman Fillow and about 85 militants," said a security official who declined to be identified.

"The strike happened at 2 a.m. The siege continues," he added. Residents in El-Adde reported hearing the sound of explosions believed to be air strikes just after Friday midnight.
"There was heavy bombardment on Al-Shabaab base near El-Adde town targeting Al-Shabaab base but we don't know the number of casualties. We heard sounds of the jets and then bombs," said one of the residents.
The bombardment came after U.S. military officials confirmed that its soldiers have deployed to Somalia to train and equip Somali and AMISOM forces fighting extremism in Somalia.
The team is reportedly carrying out a train-and-equip mission that is expected to last through the end of September, according to American officials.
The U.S. soldiers will join the small number of U.S. special operations forces already there providing counterterrorism support to local forces battling Al-Shabaab.
The U.S. maintains a small force unit of about 50 troops in Somalia mainly to advise and assist Somalia and AMISOM troops battling Al-Shabaab militants.
Though they are not in Somalia to conduct combat operations, when called in, their helicopters, drones and manned aircraft are available for quick reaction air strikes.
U.S. President Donald Trump in March granted additional authority to U.S. Africa Command to conduct counterterrorism airstrikes against the terror group.
The bombardment came after Kenyan security agents have been put on alert following intelligence reports at least nine Kenyan terrorists who had joined Al-Shabaab terror group in Somalia could be headed back to the country to launch attacks.
The Kenyans are moving back to Kenya following sustained attacks by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) who are part of the AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somalia National Army (SNA).
Police have urged Kenyans to be wary of the suspects and warned they could be in the country and planning an attack.
Over the past months KDF troops have killed at least 90 Al-Shabaab terrorists in attacks in Somalia, which has reportedly weakened the group's capability.