Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tracing the White Widow's South African story

Good People,
Sadly having lost loved ones and where people still linger in disbelief on somber moods, like a twister of whirlwind, confusion still hover in many minds; Westgate terror by Islamist fundamentalist Al-shabaab is something that will not go away very soon.It is important that these pondering questions be given early response.We understand that the Police Rescue Team did a commendable job and they need to be praised.But there is something that is still not very clear as dots fail to connect………
As a matter of concern, many minds are left boggled with speculative theories of what could have really been the reason behind the attack and therefore, such conflicting information continue to provide fodder to the questioning minds of many.To be honest, people are puzzled and are thoroughly confused whether the Government leadership was equally aware about the looming attack or they were blackmailed and someone else was trying to pull a trigger under Uhuru and Ruto leadership using a concocted Police why there are so many unanswered questions are left hanging from being explained clearly……..which is which…….. Is it a wonder that Security fraternity have been in demand for independent supreme power over the constitutional mandated system and why if as things stand, Kenya’s security establishment is not functioning the way it should. Why would the President offer immediate duplication of power without clearance?Is it true that those appointed in Public Service capacity are under some sort of pressure to serving special interest the reason they stopped paying attention to compliance in public welfare paralizing security of citizens which is why they failed their responsibilities and have proved incompetent in the light of service to the public?
The Kenya Government has a lot of explaining to do, both to Kenyans and the world ……. Making known, who exactly are these Al-shaababs who claimed responsible of the Wastgate attacks in Nairobi.The Government must explain, how these Militia thugs gained entry into Kenya and how they were able to mingle and own business premises in the bustling city of Nairobi.People want to know why the Police did not act on prior warning given to them and whether the connection with all organs of security including the National Intelligence Service (NIS) failed to lease and connect over an impending attack from tip off given to them 3 months in advance.Why was there a breakdown why they failed to correlate with the Intelligence authorities and arrest the situation on time.
Up till now there are contradicting statements and terrorists that were holding hostages inside the mall supposedly trapped and were under arrest with hostages rescued on the final day of the assault by the Kenya Defense Forces seems to be simmering down like an alibi.The cause of the fire that razed cars at the parking lot remains a mystery with Nakumatt mattress on fire report, sounds like a conspiracy theory that does not connect well with the dots of reality.We still wonder why all International Media with those of the Local were denied access to close vicinity and the reason it took authorities too long to give coordinated reports and why the floors collapsed is also throwing a worrisome spin of disjointed theories that do not connect well.
The government should tell Kenyans the truth about these issues to reduce tension among citizens.

Judy Miriga
Diaspora Spokesperson
Executive Director
Confederation Council Foundation for Africa Inc.,

Tracing the White Widow's South African story

Published on Sep 27, 2013
For more on this and other stories please visit

eNCA visited a few Johannesburg suburbs to trace the movement of the so-called White Widow. eNCA reporter Narissa Subramoney stopped by a suburbs where she had apparently lived and worked.

Westgate survivors tell tales of terror and bravery

Published on Sep 27, 2013
For more on this and other stories please visit]

Nairobi, September 27 - As the smoke settles at Nairobi's Westgate Mall, those who helped save hundreds from the terrorists tell their stories.

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: mark osano
To: progressive-kenyans
Sent: Friday, September 27, 2013 6:22 AM
Kenyans need answers of this westgate terror so the government and its agents must issue a genuine statement in connection to this and should stop irrelevant fussy maths,gimmicks and gorchers while innocent Kenyans are being shot like strange dogs in their land.
So we ask GAVA to to dig into genuine issues and issue proper statement concerning this attack

---- Forwarded Message -----
From: mohamed warsama
Sent: Friday, September 27, 2013 10:29 AM

The Wednesday twin attacks by Alshabaab on our border security forces may have been a diversionary attack to give Samantha Leithwaite an opportunity to sneak into Somalia after carrying out her deadly mission at Westgate.


Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)

Somalia: U.S Intelligence Claims Al-Shabab Planning New Kenya-Like Attacks

The US intelligence community has reportedly said that the al-Qaeda linked terrorist group al-Shabab, which claimed responsibility for the Nairobi mall-attack, may be planning new attacks in East Africa, particularly Kenya.
The intelligence community monitored a specific stream of classified information, but it did not include details of specific target or date. One US intelligence official said that there are data points which are worrisome and now the intelligence is focused on how to prevent any more attacks, CNN reports.
The officials said that the classified information they tracked is different from the public claims and tweets made by the Somalia-based terror group. The US State Department has reissued a travel specific warning to Kenya saying Americans already there or planning to go there should evaluate their personal security situation, the report adde


Sabahi (Washington, DC)

Kenya: Westgate Attack Reveals Gaping Security Holes

A prior terror alert
In August, security officials issued a terror alert for Kenya, saying they had received intelligence reports that at least five al-Shabaab operatives had entered Mombasa from Somalia and may have been plotting an attack to coincide with the first anniversary of radical cleric Aboud Rogo Mohammed's killing.
"A security alert in Mombasa or Kisumu should be a concern for the entire country," said retired army Major Bishar Hajji Abdullahi. "It is evident that someone was lax."
"In the aftermath of this incident, those who know they are culpable should just resign, or the president [should] sack them," Abdullahi told Sabahi.
The Kenyan Defence Forces and allied troops have done a good job dispersing al-Shabaab inside Somalia, but Kenya's security services should have launched a manhunt for suspected militants on the home soil once they got those intelligence reports, he said.
David Ochami, a Mombasa-based journalist who covers Middle East and Horn of Africa militant groups, said there were signs of a potential attack in the weeks leading up to the Westgate siege.
Al-Shabaab and its sympathizers had been very active on social media in the weeks before the attack, for example, and their messages could have provided clues to prevent the attack, he said.
"Some of the postings may turn out to be a hoax to instil fear or posturing, but they should be deciphered and taken very seriously," Ochami told Sabahi.
Even during the siege at the mall, al-Shabaab frequently posted messages about it on Twitter, Ochami said, underscoring the importance of paying attention to how terrorists use social media as they mount and execute such attacks.
Despite having at least five Twitter handles shut down this year, including three in the aftermath of the Westgate attack, al-Shabaab is still using the social media site to threaten and mock its enemies.
In a series of tweets Thursday, al-Shabaab criticised the Kenyan government for the apparent conflicting information it provided following the attack.
"The Kenyan government is still in disarray & it won't be until several months when it fully comprehends exactly what took place at Westgate," al-Shabaab said. "Their contradictory version of events is a sure sign that the Kenyan govt is beginning to suffer from severe constipation of ideas."

The militants went on to boast of their "mesmeric performance" at Westgate, keeping Kenyans "completely enthralled for more than 100 hours".
Al-Shabaab renewed its threats to Kenyans saying, "... despair not folks, that was just the première of Act 1".
A tipoff Westgate attack was coming
Meanwhile, Kenyan lawmaker Mike Sonko made headlines this week by claiming that well before the attack he had received information that terrorists were planning to strike Westgate mall and other Nairobi landmarks.
He said he had relayed this information to the authorities, but they did not take it seriously enough.
According to Sonko, who represents the Westlands constituency where Westgate is located, two women approached him about three months ago with information that al-Shabaab militants had rented a house in the Parklands neighbourhood of Nairobi and were plotting such attacks.
"They told me the attacks were targeting Westgate, Village Market, the Kenyatta International Conference Centre and parliament," he told Sabahi. "I assisted them in recording a statement with the police and intelligence officers so a further probe could be carried out."
The National Security Intelligence Service and other security organs failed to act on the tip, Sonko said. He shared this information with the Senate on September 24th, the day the standoff at Westgate ended.
Fellow lawmaker Asman Kamama, who chairs the National Assembly's Administration and National Security Committee, said the mall attack exposed lapses in intelligence gathering.
"The way the attacks were carried out, it was well co-ordinated, meaning it was something that was well planned and executed," Kamama, a United Republican Party member who represents Baringo County, told Sabahi.
"And for our intelligence to have had no clue on the impending attacks, means there [were] huge security failures that we must audit and [for which we must] hold individuals culpable," he said.

Officials respond

The attack on Westgate not only stunned the nation but appeared to catch defenders of the homeland off guard, officials told Sabahi.

"In all honesty, this was the first time Kenya has witnessed such an audacious terrorist attack on a mall using guns," said Director of Police Reforms Jonathan Kosgei. "We knew of bombs, [but] this new style was hard to predict. However, the security forces did their best to contain the situation in the prevailing disadvantaged circumstances."

"This attack will probably precipitate a national debate [about] whether to arm security guards or not," he told Sabahi. "With only a wooden baton and a whistle, guards are so vulnerable and totally unable to stop an armed assault."

Another factor to consider is how Westgate revealed al-Shabaab's dramatic change in military tactics to commando-like operations, according to Western region Commissioner James ole Seriani.

"They want to inflict maximum damage which the roadside improvised explosive devices were not achieving," he told Sabahi. "It is the same tactic they used in Garissa last year when they stormed and opened fire in two churches and hotels leaving more than 20 dead."

The Westgate massacre is a wakeup call, Seriani said, and the public should be alert so that terrorists can be neutralised before they cross into Kenya.

The Kenyan government was blamed, too, for issuing conflicting information to the press as the terror at Westgate unfolded.

But Principal Secretary for Internal Security Mutea Iringo defended the government, saying it was deliberate tactic aimed at throwing the terrorists off balance.

"Silence is also a tactical weapon," he told Sabahi. "You do not want to engage in a public shouting match with a terrorist organisation."

While it was an unfortunate incident, Iringo said he hoped the Westgate attack would encourage world leaders to take action against al-Shabaab.

"Al-Shabaab is now not only a Somali headache but part and parcel of a global terrorist network that needs the world governments to dismantle," he said.

Top security officers are expected to appear before parliament next week as part of the investigation into the terrorist attack.

"The time for responsibility and accountability has come," defence committee chairman Ndung'u Gethenji said, according to Kenya's Daily Nation.

"We shall conduct a thorough, in-depth, incisive and unforgiving investigation into the events and the failures that led to the attack," he said at parliament shortly after his committee held a closed door meeting Thursday.

Gethenji said the joint committee, comprising members of the defence and national security committees, will call Kenya's intelligence chief, the Interior Cabinet Secretary, the Inspector General of Police and other top security officials to shed light on the attack.


Voice of America (Washington, DC)

Somalia: Top Priority for FBI in Minnesota - Somali Extremists

Minnesota — U.S. law enforcement officials say preventing Somali Americans from aiding the terrorist organization al-Shabab continues to be its top priority in Minnesota, where the largest Somali community in the United States resides.
The FBI said it will not comment at this time on its active investigation into the al-Shabab terrorist group's attack on Nairobi's Westgate Mall and whether any Somali Americans were involved.
But for FBI agents in Minneapolis, combating al-Shabab's efforts to radicalize Somali Americans has been the top priority for years. Kyle Loven is the chief division counsel for the region. "We have individuals who have purportedly [been] going over to fight on behalf of a foreign terrorist organization which has been so designated by the state department," he noted. "So that is a violation of federal law and we've had some convictions here in the last couple of years."
More than 20 young Somali Americans have travelled to Somalia to fight for the terrorist group. Some were killed overseas. Some returned and were convicted of aiding a terrorist organization and sentenced to between 3 and 20 years. Loven said the FBI is intent on ending the terrorist ties between Somalia and Minnesota.
"We want to discover who is radicalizing these young men, facilitators, where the money is coming from, and try to disrupt this pipeline of young Somali men. That is the aim of this investigation," Loven said.
Anders Folk, former assistant U.S. attorney for Minnesota said counter-terrorism is also a main focus. "In terms of the number of cases prosecuted and in terms of the number of defendants convicted, it is the most extensive counter terrorism investigation that Minneapolis has seen," he said.
He said the Islamic militant organization indoctrinates disaffected Muslim youths in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul to recruit friends to wage jihad against enemies of Islam.
"Al-Shabab used peer to peer recruiting in the twin cities, that it used individuals who once they left Minnesota and joined the organization in Somalia, those individuals reached back to their friends and family in the twin cities," Folk explained.
Folk said law enforcement and moderate Somalis have reduced the influence of al-Shabab, but the group is still trying to reach out to at-risk Somali men in Minnesota.


Militants 'rented Westgate mall shop', had fake IDs

Updated Friday, September 27th 2013 at 20:03 GMT +3
The militants who led the attack on a Kenyan mall hired a shop there in the weeks leading up to the siege, senior security sources have told the BBC.
This gave them access to service lifts at Westgate enabling them to stockpile weapons and ammunition.

Having pre-positioned weapons they were able to re-arm quickly and repel the security forces.
Sixty-seven people are known to have died in the four-day siege. Kenya's Red Cross says 61 others are still missing.
Forensic experts are still combing the complex, looking for bodies and clues.
The Somali Islamist group al-Shabab, which is part of al-Qaeda, says it was behind the attack and the following siege at the upmarket mall in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
Kenya is in its third day of official mourning for both the civilian and military victims of the attack.
Fake IDs?
The BBC investigation has revealed how the Westgate gunmen were able to plan and carry out the siege, and how security breaches allegedly fuelled by corruption made it an attack waiting to happen.
To rent a shop, the militants would have needed fake IDs supplied by corrupt government officials.
The BBC has also confirmed more details about how they executed their attack.
Two vehicles dropped the Islamist extremists off outside before they forced their way into the mall, sources say.

They are also believed to have set up a base using a ventilation shaft as a hiding place, on the first floor.
Security sources have also confirmed a change of tack by the militants late on Saturday.

They rolled out heavy calibre machine guns, exploiting the moment when control of the security operation switched from the police to the military.
There are reports that this switchover was fraught with confusion.
The heads of the various security agencies have been summoned to appear before the parliamentary defence committee on Monday, amid rising concern over the authorities' preparedness for such an attack.
The committee's chairman, Ndung'u Gethenji, told the BBC that "people need to know the exact lapses in the security system that possibly allowed this event to take place".
He also said they needed to understand "the anatomy of the entire rescue operation" amid the allegations of confusion over who was in charge.
It is still not clear how many militants took place in the attack or their nationalities.
But senior sources within al-Shabab, which has repeatedly threatened attacks on Kenyan soil if Nairobi did not pull its troops out of Somalia, told the BBC by phone that they would not release the attackers' names.
'Jewellery looted'
A senior government official told the Associated Press news agency that the army had caused the collapse of a section of the mall on Monday.
The official, who did not want to be named, said autopsies would show whether this had killed the hostages or whether they had already been murdered.

Correspondents say there have been reports that the military had blown out a supporting column to bring the siege to an end - a controversial decision which, if confirmed, would raise the possibility that hostages' lives were seen as expendable.
Irene Anyango, manager of a Westgate jewellery shop, is one of the few people who has been allowed into the mall following the end of the siege.
"It was a nightmare… and the shop was a totally different place," she told the BBC.
Ms Anyango said 90% of the jewellery was missing from the shop, which is now flooded.
"As far as we know, for the last couple of days they were intact - we don't understand what's happening but they're not there," she said.
Many people not only face the trauma of losing family and colleagues but also the possibility of losing their jobs, she added.
On Friday morning, President Uhuru Kenyatta attended the funeral of his nephew and his nephew's fiancee at a church service Nairobi, where he addressed the congregation.
Mbugua Mwangi and Rosemary Wahito were among those killed in the mall on Saturday.
About 4,000 Kenyan troops have been sent to Somalia to help pro-government forces battle al-Shabab.
The group is banned as a terrorist group by both the US and the UK and is believed to have between 7,000 and 9,000 fighters.
Its members are fighting to create an Islamic state in Somalia.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Why we must reform security agencies now

A KDF officer leaves the Westgate mall aboard an armoured vehicle on September 25, 2013. Photo/DENISH OCHIENG

A KDF officer leaves the Westgate mall aboard an armoured vehicle on September 25, 2013. Photo/DENISH OCHIENG
A KDF officer leaves the Westgate mall aboard an armoured vehicle on September 25, 2013. Photo/DENISH OCHIENG

By MUTUMA RUTEREMore by this Author
Last weekend’s attack on the Westgate Mall is a catastrophic reminder that the threat of terrorism still prowls the country.
In the last several months, there has been a drop in violent attacks in northern Kenya, possibly lulling us into a false sense of security.
Westgate is a reminder that Kenya remains a soft target for international terrorists. As a country that has waged war against al-Shabaab in Somalia, we may forget that we are top on the list of the terror group’s target.
Kenya has done little to address the threat, even in the face of the evidence that al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda would retaliate against the military onslaught into Somalia.
Analysts, political leaders and the public have raised critical questions on the preparedness and effectiveness of our security agencies in preventing and dealing with such attacks.
There is no question that the mall attack represents a failure of intelligence or failure to act on intelligence both in Kenya and globally. Forensic audit of those failures will certainly be done in various world capitals. Whether Kenya will take a serious evaluation of these blunders and take measures to prevent a repeat is what is critical.
Obviously, it is too early and the pain too fresh for any of us to rush to judgment on what went wrong. From the outset, the selfless dedication and commitment to save lives by security officers was exemplary.
Officers who rushed into the mall and endured the horror are some of the least paid and least appreciated public servants. Their heroism and humanity should not be glossed over even as the inevitable and necessary questions are raised over how this kind of attack could have been executed in the most watched malls in the country.
Parliament has pledged to open an inquiry, and hopefully, that will provide the much-needed insight into security lapses. However, as we await that inquiry, it is important to caution that temptation to rush to judgment against any single institution, whether the National Intelligence Service or the Kenya Police Service, should be avoided.
The study of disasters has shown that no single mistake is usually responsible for catastrophic flops. It is often the cumulative consequences of many institutional weaknesses and failures that often cascade into large scale death and destruction.
It will be remembered that the 2009 Ransley Report on police reforms underscored the need to invest in intelligence-led policing, better intelligence sharing between agencies and improvements to make intelligence into clear and useful basis to stop or prevent crime.
Beyond this, a more forward-looking assessment of the country’s preparedness in addressing security threats is necessary.
In particular, there is need to pay close attention and breathe new life into the unfinished business of reforms. There is a view gaining currency that police reforms may be losing steam with the leadership lost in bureaucratic sideshows. Since the death of (Cabinet Minister) George Saitoti, government reforms do not seem to have any effective salesperson.
Wrongly, there is sometimes a perception that police reforms is merely about accountability and punishing rogue officers. In reality, the bulk of the reforms proposed by the Ransley Report are about improving effectiveness of the police to fulfil their mandate professionally.
The Criminal Investigations Department remains woefully underfunded and the re-skilling of officers to prepare them for intelligence-led police has not yet been undertaken. In the absence of an investment into creation of a 21st century police service, temptation to resort to crude force appears to be creeping back.
In addition, we need to revisit the country’s counter-terrorism strategy. There have been some suggestions that a community policing approach will correct some of the weaknesses and plug some gaps in intelligence gathering on terror threats. Community policing is now secured in the legislation as the preferred approach.
However, community policing remains something everybody likes, but no one knows how it looks like. Arming neighbourhood watches is not community policing as some suggest. Nor is recruitment of crime spotters by police. There is need to put flesh onto the bones of the legislation and policy, spelling out what community policing is.
It is also time to open the debate on Parliamentary oversight in security. So far, security agencies have largely operated in secrecy, choosing to designate virtually everything as secret and classified.
In a democracy like ours, security cannot be entirely left in the hands of experts within the police. A mechanism needs to be put in place to ensure that the respective parliamentary committee has the security clearance to see some of the intelligence gathered by police and the NIS. This calls for a system of classification of intelligence with appropriate penalties to deter leaders who may be tempted to play partisan politics with classified information.
Even after many warnings regarding Westgate and indeed other soft targets, it is clear we have not done anything significant beyond the routine checks by guards on entry.
It is obvious to most people accessing such places that unless one is carrying a conspicuous object openly labelled “bomb”, it is impossible for the checks by guards to discover concealed explosives.
The public and parliamentary scrutiny trained on the police and intelligence services overlooks the role of private security guards who are, in fact, in the frontline in securing shopping malls and other public places. The private security industry operates without regulations on training and little is done to ascertain the background of the guards. Arming private security guards, as some analysts and political leaders have suggested, should be considered.
Moreover, it is obvious that even gun-toting guards could not have stopped attackers as heavily armed as those who raided the mall. Regrettably, the Private Security Industry Regulation Bill prepared by the defunct Police Reforms Implementation Committee in 2010 has never found its way into Parliament.
The lessons of the Westgate tragedy also point to the critical role landlords play in security as they determine who can and who cannot access their premises. Rightly, security agencies need to investigate the Westgate Mall tenants.
The more important issue, however, is to regulate tenancy and purchase of properties. Currently, there are no requirements for landlords to conduct background checks on prospective tenants. Anyone with money can let property virtually anywhere without tripping any security alerts.
Investment in data collection, scrutiny and verification of every prospective tenant should be seen as central to the counter-terrorism strategy.
This is not the role of the police or intelligence, but rather county governments. Those who assume that county governments do not have security functions because they don’t control police confuse police for security and institutions for outcomes.
It is important to remember that terrorist attacks have been taking place in many parts of northern Kenya. Eastleigh and the Coast province have also suffered attacks most of last year.
For a country that is so vulnerable and with such a high incidence of attacks, it is remarkable that data, research and analysis of this violence remains limited.
Institutions such as the National Crime Research Centre that have the mandate to provide leadership in research and analysis on crime have failed.
Of course, and as we have come to expect, our universities have nothing to say about these contemporary security problems and the less said about their relevance the better.
Unfortunately, without analysis and thinking on safety measures located outside the security agencies, we are unlikely to see any new thinking in dealing with our security problems.
As the great science philosopher Thomas Kuhn wrote, ‘paradigm-shifting ideas do not come from veterans in any field but from those on the outside or newcomers.’
To expect security agencies to boldly reform themselves is to fundamentally misunderstand human nature and behaviour. No one will reform themselves into irrelevance.
Dr Mutuma Ruteere writes on security issues.


The Star, 26 September 2013

Two police officers were early this morning killed when terrorists attacked a police station in Mandera Town near the Somalia border and later torched 11 vehicles. The gang also ... read more »

  • Shabelle Media Network, 26 September 2013
    Men believed to be terrorists attacked a police station in Mandera Town near the Somalia border and killed two police officers, injure three others before burning at least 11 ... read more »

  • Sabahi, 26 September 2013
    Gunmen attacked civilians and police in two separate incidents in Wajir and Mandera towns, killing three people and injuring seven others, security officials told Sabahi. read more »

  • The Star, 26 September 2013
    Police are monitoring four suspected al Shabaab members who allegedly crossed into Kenya to launch a terror plot in Mombasa last month. According to police intelligence, the four ... read more »

  • Leaked NIS document details terrorist plots of an attack in Nairobi between September 13 and 21

    Updated Friday, September 27th 2013 at 22:37 GMT +3
    Director General of NIS Major General Michael Gichangi in deep thought during a past national ceremony. He is due to appear before a House committee on Monday [PHOTO:COLLINS KWEYU/STANDARD]

    An unprecedented leak of Intelligence briefings covering the past year paint the picture of a government fully informed of an impending Al Shabaab attack ahead of the Westgate massacre.
    The leak, coming days before the National Intelligence Service ( NIS) Director General Michael Gichangi is grilled by MPs on Monday, appears to draw a line in the sand as accusations are traded over the responsibility for the attack in which at least 67 were killed.
    The 8,800-word dossier details terrorist plots and other activities by the militant group, including a direct warning of a terror plot in Nairobi between September 13 and 21.
    This is likely to be Gichangi’s line of defence when he appears before the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee. If Gichangi’s assertions cut ice, the tide could turn against other security organs and senior officials who must answer question as to what they did or did not with the Intelligence provided.
    Intelligence gap
    At a closed-door meeting of a joint committee of the House that is investigating the matter, the MPs admonished Gichangi for Intelligence gaps and security lapses that allowed terrorists to plan and execute the bloody attack.
    Defence and Foreign Relations Committee chairman Ndung’u Gethenji said “it is now time for people to take responsibility and to audit our security system.”
    The Intelligence leak claims that a security survey on key installations and shopping malls, including Westgate, essentially assessed their vulnerability to terrorist attacks and the requisite recommendations made.
    Reports by NIS are normally shared with Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku and his PS Mutea Iringo, Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia (meaning President Uhuru Kenyatta must have been briefed), Inspector General David Kimaiyo and his two deputies and CID boss Ndegwa Muhoro.
    NIS submitted a Situation Report dated September 21, 2002 — Serial No.184/2012 — which indicated that at least three suspected terrorists were in Nairobi planning suicide attacks on undisclosed dates.

    “The following suspected Al Shabaab operatives are in Nairobi and are planning to mount suicide attacks on undisclosed date, targeting Westgate Mall and Holy Family Basilica; Sheikh Abdiwelli Mohamed, Sheikh Hussein and Sheikh Hassan. They are believed to be in possession of two suicide vests, twelve (12) hand grenades and two (2) AK47 rifles, and have already surveyed the two targets.”
    “They are being assisted by Sheikh Hassan alias Blackie of Majengo and Omar Ahmed Ali alias Jerry who are currently staying near Mamba Petrol Station and Huruma Mosque along Juja Road,” the report said.

    Political assassinations
    The same report indicated that two suspected Al Shabaab terrorists of Somali origin had entered South Sudan through Djibouti, Eritrea and Sudan and were suspected to be in Uganda on transit to Kenya through either Busia or Malaba border points. The two were allegedly being assisted by Teskalem Teklemaryan, an Eritrean engineer who lives in Uganda and South Sudan.
    The Intelligence report further advised that the duo had purchased one GPMG, four hand-grenades, one bullet belt, five AK 47 guns and unknown number of bulletproof jackets from Joseph Lomoro, an SPLA officer, and some maps of Nairobi.
    The report further disclosed that one Maalim Khalid (also known as Maalim Kenya), a Kenyan explosives and martial arts expert, had been identified as the architect of current terrorist attacks in the country. Khalid, the report indicated, is associated with attacks at Machakos Country Bus, Assanands House in Nairobi and Bellavista Club in Mombasa.
    He was reported to have selected 20 Kenyans in groups of 10, whom he trained at Marka and Barawe to drive, use of pistols and grenades, establish and utilise safe houses, escape and evasion tactics and effective and secure communication.
    NIS’s advice to the government then was that Khalid was planning terrorist attacks in Kenya, aimed at damaging the economy, assassination of political and security leaders, and attacking Western interests and tourists.
    “Elsewhere, the Al Shabaab is contemplating attacking Kenyan interests in other countries, starting with Zambia, but the timing, target and methods are still unclear. Kenyan interests anywhere in the world, therefore, remain the militant’s potential targets of attack as the Kenya Defence Forces and AMISOM exert pressure on them, and the imminent capture of Kismayu,” reads the report.
    The report further established that an Al Shabaab operative, Musharaf Abdalla (also known as Zarkawi, Ali Abdalla, Musab, Shukri Abdirahman, Rashid, Noor Abdi Ismail, Alex Shikanda), who had been arrested on September 29, 2012 in Malindi, had disclosed that his associates were targeting Florida 2000, a club opposite Hilton Hotel (assessed to be Bettyz) and unidentified strip club near Nation Centre.
    Changamwe refinery
    Another NIS situation report dated November 9, 2012 —serial No 219/2012 — indicated that one Titus Amusibwa alias Maalim Khalid, a terrorist suspect linked to the Al Shabaab and who was arrested with arms at Mariakani on October 27, 2012, had been found with information indicating that the terror group intended to attack the Kenya Pipeline network. The planned attacks were meant to reinforce the one against Changamwe Oil Refinery for maximum damage.
    Another Intelligence brief titled “Situation Report for 13.09.13 - Serial no. 178/2013” indicated that one Mohamed Ade, who is based in Kenya, sent fraudulent refugee documents to 15 Al Shabaab Amniyat operatives in Somalia in early September 2013 to enable them access refugee camps in Kenya and thereafter move to other parts of the country.
    The cards, according to the reports, were handed to Abdullahi Dheere who would then pass them over to Aynanshe, the Al Shabaab Governor in Middle Juba.

    The operatives, said the brief, had undergone a Swahili language course and were under the command of Moalin Ali and were to enter Kenya by mid-September this year.


    Thursday, September 26, 2013

    Blame game over Westgate attack

    A section of the Westgate Mall that collapsed during the final assault on suspected Al-Shabaab attackers by the Kenya security forces. PHOTO | KDF

    In Summary

    • Inquiries by the Nation indicate that a coordinated rescue mission was badly delayed because of disputes between the Kenya Police and KDF officers commanding their units on the ground.
    • It took prolonged consultations that also involved State House before President Kenyatta publicly announced that Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo was in charge.

    By NATION TEAMMore by this Author
    Rivalry among security agencies and lack of clear command lines badly affected the response to the terrorist attack on the Westgate Mall, the Nation has established.
    Jurisdictional differences appear to have extended to blame games among security agencies, as Kenya recovers from its worst terror attack since the 1998 bombing of the Embassy of the United States of America in Nairobi.
    Various units of the Kenya Police and the Kenya Defence Forces played key roles in the rescue operation after a band of terrorists linked to Somalia-based Al-Shabaab attacked the shopping mall on Saturday and killed dozens before holding an unknown number hostage inside the up-market complex.
    Inquiries by the Nation indicate that a coordinated rescue mission was badly delayed because of disputes between the Kenya Police and KDF officers commanding their units on the ground.
    A reconstruction of the rescue mission indicates that a team from the Recce General Service Unit of the Kenya Police early in the rescue operation made its way into the mall and secured most of it, pinning down the terrorists at one end around Nakumatt Supermarket and Barclays Bank.
    Rooftop parking
    However, the team pulled out after its commander was fatally shot in ‘friendly fire’ following the arrival of a KDF unit.
    Also pulling out at the same time was a small group of policemen from various units and armed civilians, who were the first to enter the mall from the rooftop parking and the front entrance and led hundreds of shoppers to safety.
    The pullout left a vacuum that apparently allowed the terrorists to regroup and move through the mall slaughtering many captives.
    It also allowed the terrorists to deploy heavy-calibre machine guns that they had not used in the earlier shootout.
    It took prolonged consultations that also involved State House before President Kenyatta publicly announced that Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo was in charge.
    However, it was also decided that KDF Special Forces would be the ones to conduct the actual assault on the terrorists, while the GSU and other police units ringed the mall.
    The soldiers and their commanders on the ground only answered to KDF chief General Julius Karangi rather than to the police boss, which also complicated the operation.
    The teams also appeared to have had different aims. One officer involved said that some units had a priority to locate and rescue a specific group of VIPs.
    Barely an hour after the attack, the GSU squad had taken control of almost 70 per cent of the building after moving in to reinforce the small group of policemen, who were the first to enter the building.
    The KDF Special Forces came in later to spearhead the operation, with the GSU forming the second inner cordon in the mall behind the army units from the 20 Para Battalion and Maroon Commandos.
    The rivalry is understood to have extended to communication on how the public would be informed of the progress of the operation.
    As Parliament promised to demand answers from all units involved, it also emerged on Wednesday that the police had been given advance intelligence on the planned terrorist attack, but failed to act.
    The Parliamentary Defence Committee Thursday summoned all security chiefs — including National Intelligence Service boss Michael Gichangi—to appear before it next week. The sessions are expected to be dominated by buck-passing.
    “The time for responsibility and accountability has come,” Defence Committee chairman Ndung’u Gethenji said.
    Likely targets
    A local newspaper Thursday quoted an intelligence source claiming Maj-Gen Gichangi had passed information to Mr Kimaiyo and CID director Ndegwa Muhoro on the impending attack on Westgate.
    Speaking to the Nation Thursday, however, a highly-placed source within the police denied that such information was ever passed on.
    He said all the communication logs and situation reports had been cross-checked in the wake of the attack and confirmed that no such report was ever made.
    What was on record in the recent past, he insisted, were the regular alerts on terrorist plots and likely targets such as government buildings, city landmarks and high-rise buildings, tourist hotels, up-market shopping malls frequented by diplomats and expatriates, and western embassies.
    From the debate in Parliament in the wake of the attack, it also appears some MPs have already decided who to blame for the security lapse.
    Meanwhile, intelligence officers are pursuing leads indicating that a terrorist who is already serving a 59-year jail term was in contact from behind prison walls with the group that planned and carried out the Westgate attack.
    Abdimajid Yassin Mohammed was last year jailed after pleading guilty to the charges of terrorism. It is believed that some warders at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison allowed him to communicate with the conspirators outside.
    Suicide mission
    Mr Mohammed, 26, and a colleague reportedly bought a Peugeot 505 car for Sh180,000 and did not bother to ask for the log book.
    They had planned to use it for a suicide mission on Parliament, but the car broke down on September 13 as they set out on their operation.
    They were arrested with four suicide bomb belts, 12 hand grenades, four AK 47 rifles, 481 bullets and two home-made bombs. They led police to a flat in Nairobi’s Eastleigh area where some of the arsenal was recovered.
    They also confessed that they were sent to Kenya by Jafra Hussein, an Al-Shabaab commander in Mogadishu.

    Friday, September 27, 2013


    Thomas Mann


    Concerned Concerned
    Sorry, I meant Abdul Haji's interview and not Majid's interview.



    It is becoming more and more clear that this attack has nothing to do with Religious belief. This is organised crime and the so called Jihadists have nothing to do with the teachings of Islam. They are part of a global crime syndicate, who have lost their most valuable piece of real estate: Southern Somalia. There are very few places on earth where one could trade indiscriminately in Charcoal, Ivory and Rhino horn. Even fewer where you can anchor pirated ships or demand ransom whilst holding hostages.
    Religion is completely irrelevant, merely a way of garnering some misguided support from disadvantaged members of society, and keeping ordinary, muslims fearful from speaking out against them.
    It is time for us to call a spade a spade. These are well funded, determined, ruthless criminals. They are prepared to gun down and throw grenades at women and children, to shock and attempt to terrify us.
    Let us not allow them to use the smokescreen of any religion to fool us.
    They need to be targeted where it hurts them most, it must be a war on organised crime, illegal real estate, and poaching. It is certain that following these trails will lead back to that organisation with a religious sounding name.


    Lack of police and military coordination in such incidents inevitibly leads to lack of response which results in loss of life, the failure to contain an incident of this scale has clearly shown how the militants exploited the un preparedness of the security forces, lack go communication between all units on the ground and no clear command structure will inevitibly mean failure.
    Incident control should be with the police, if hey can not deal with it then they hand over to the military but what ever happens a system of clear direct command and control needs to be in place, I watched the footage and was confused as to who w dong what and why, the fact that units were sent to rescue VIP groups ashamed me that even in a life or death situation class distinction still accounts for who lives and who dies, we are all human beings, gods children there should be no distinction, if corruption has led to this disaster then there is a lot of soul searching to be done in Kenya right now


    Clearly what has become our way of life? Tribalism, Nepotism, Insecurity, Corruption,
    Road carnage, Prostitution, Infidelity, Incompetence,selfishness, M-Churches…the list goes
    on: I’m afraid Terrorism might join in. We need to sort out our society short-comings
    (which all of us are guilty of) to overcome all the vices otherwise we might
    just destroy ourselves.


    "Jurisdictional differences appear to have extended to blame games among security agencies, as Kenya recovers from its worst terror attack since the 1998 bombing of the Embassy of the United States of America in Nairobi". THAT IS WHY EVEN OUR CONSTITUTION IS AMERICAN.
    Mwikali Wambua

    Someone's gotta take the flak.


    Ther e is a group that I also want to blame...the Body odf Christ.Please wkae up.these are the last days!


    if turf wars can extend to our disciplined forces then we Kenyans should brace ourselves for God forbid these kind of attacks from the terrorists.let our forces be professional rather than being like can an officer accept food item from a raia in the name of volunteer infront of camera withut feeling ashamed>? they should behave next these volunteers could be their accomplices & the food could be drugged.WATCH OUT OUR OFFICERS PLEASE .this advice is for free.

    The Kenyan Trauma Surgeon
    i have a feeling this would have been prevented......lets uncorver the truth as investigations kick in


    Natty Dread
    I hope that UhuRuto will be able to stay above the mud-slinging and self-exoneration that is sure to come out of this drama.
    Hard decisions must be made, and there is no room for error. If a terrorist in Kamiti can guide the murderers of Westgate, and if terrorists can rent houses and shops and spend 90 days stocking up on bombs and machine guns without anybody taking notice, something is terribly wrong at all levels.


    Kenyatta has recently been going round the country telling us not to politicize issues, and focus on development. He should lead by example, and start by de-politicizing our police force and security agency heads. Some people should get fired, just to set an example. Then hire real skilled proffessionals, and let them know that their job security does not depend on where they come from or how good they are at harrassing and spying on his political competitors, but on how well they do their real job, which is protecting all Kenyans.

    Not really... I do not agree with you. Instructions were given and priorities were made. Clearly we know what the priorities are for this government. Certainly not militants.... Choices, my brother, have consequences. Do not blame the chief officers. They simply followed instructions

    geoffrey luyuku

    so some went to secure a special group of VIPs? that must be the police.

    Martt Denja

    September 13 is just days before the current attack!


    Simon Templar

    The army is normally sent in as the last resort in any situation. Recce Squad should have been mandated with doing the sweep and KDF relegated to cordoning the area assisted by the police. There was too much collateral damage which would not have happened if the siege had been handled professionally. it's about time the Government woke up and invested in Homeland Security. Our Police force is the most ill equipped and non techno savvy, yet terrorists are embracing new tactics everyday. The whole police force should be computerized so that data on internal as well as external threats is captured and shared seamlessly among them. It makes no sense to buy laptops for Standard one kids and yet ignore implementing the same reforms to our security agencies.May God rest the souls of our brothers and sisters in peace.

    You're the only sober person here!

    Angry Citizen


    Those who brought in the army surely messed up.
    Really? Only the armu could deal with the bombs, machine guns, grenades and so on. The cops would have been mowed down with their WW2 guns. Even Recee Squad was no match for these jihadists. Only special forces from the military.

    Martin Njomo Arap Muigai


    This is disgusting. Maybe we are monkeys and other races have greater mental prowess. This may be a fact we might have to contemplate. The recce squad needs to be praised and feted by the nation. After kdf felt commando wounding the recce squad leader and forcing the recce squad to pull out, dozens of lives were lost thereafter and people were tortured. This is unforgivable and beyond the think that the recce squad had them cornered, disgusting...


    Squabling wouldn't help.1.Create an Anti Terrorism High Command integrating all forces 2.Place Nairobi and Mombasa on a continuous 24 hr surveilance. 3. Avoid appointing heads of security on the basis of tribe.
    Remember that America established the Homeland Security Agency after 9/11..they went through similar trials, their famed security agencies having failed to respond due to bureaucracy and poor coordination.


    From the picture above... it looks more like an explosion crater.

    Medicine Man

    I was not comfortable with the decision to send in the Army. The army tends to operate with blunt force, often destroying everything in their path. The counter strategy against the terrorist would have always been best achieved by the specialized police units. We need to continue investing in all security agencies but also be aware when to use each one.

    sura mbaya

    Well, isn't this a fine mess? I am no security expert but my little time serving informs me that no military man would ever take orders from a cop. There's this "our tough guys are badder than your tough guys" mentality that prevails.
    How about we get our heads together, boys, and in the next few weeks come up with a workable plan of action? I would rather hear about what measures are being put in place rather than who is to blame. I don't want to face the business end of an AK in the near future with the scary knowledge that no one has my back.




    Our corruption and resultant cynicism and selective patriotism will continue to kill us literally and figuratively.
    It is common knowledge that our banks are awash with money from foreign sources who pack it and launder in Kenya (real estate) as the case maybe. No wonder property in Kenya is ridiculously priced with zero relation to (internal) fundamentals.
    Everybody knows that with cash a foreigner can just pop into the country and in a few months transmogrify into a full blown Kenyan; passport, ID, DL and all. S/he can set up a business, acquire property and even exclude in subtle and blatant ways poor Kenyans from his/her ventures. Kenya is known for this sort of easy winks & nods for the fiendish foreigners who then proceed to play the system thoroughly.
    This perversion of the " Jambo sana Karibu bwana, hakuna matata" brand is the problem. That is what makes borders porous-not necessarily the fact that it is impossible/senseless to fence off the whole country. You can swim/walk into Kenya quite easily, but unless somebody is corrupt there is NO WAY you will become a Kenyan, hide or ACQUIRE TOOLS OF DEATH to harm Kenyans so that you are rewarded with an abode in the sky above where you dance with virgins for eternity. Let us deal with facts instead of wasting time on useless blame games.


    "Pull out allowed the terrorists to regroup"That is inexcusable if true and cost lives, the police dropped the ball on this one..



    The parliamentary Defence Committee is itself useless. Where have they been when Kenyans have gone without 999 services ? The many trips they make out of the country on tax payers money haven't they bothered to see how police is structured to meet the needs of citizens in the western countries they go to. Lack of a functioning and equipped and staffed communication Centre is the first line of defence we don't have. What has this useless committee done about it ? Nothing !! They can go to The Hague and make fools of themselves on the streets but not do what they were elected by the people to do. Bure kabisa.



    We are in deep trouble, the terrorists want to destroy everything, including parliament?, is Kenya doomed forever? isn't it best to migrate out now?

    Edward Odanga

    Since when did KDF become answerable to a "Mr"? The take orders from Generals and Colonels. Rais Uhuru alihata hapo.



    God have mercy on all of humanity as we pray for the innocent that have been killed. Killing and violence is not the answer - if there are problems in Somalia then get your message across to the rest of the world in other means such as a peaceful youtube video explaining the problems - the public will listen. If you want attention this is not the way - peace is the way. Please do not commit violence and do not shed any more blood.

    dalmas machuki

    Frank Wanyama

    It's time the Jubilee Government lived up to its much touted, much publicized "kusema na kutenda" slogan, by overhauling the NSIS, the Police Service, the CID, the Immigration, and the Customs departments, all of which played a role in the just-ended terrorist atrocity at Nairobi's Westgate Mall and many others in recent years. Alongside the purge of top officers who slept on the job, the Government and all institutions of note, must, this time round, launch a very aggressive war on corruption and the institutionalised culture of lawlessness that's steadily driving this country to an abyss.


    If this is what happened I am very sad person and don't want to believe it did!!!! then somebody should be held accountable.


    Suspected terrorist's grandmother collapses in shock
    Updated Wednesday, September 25 2013 at 12:51 GMT+3
    She converted to Islam at the age of seventeen. Photo:Courtesy
    Adapted from the Daily Mail
    'White widow' Islamist Samantha Lewthwaite was just an average British girl who was 'empty in confidence', a councillor who knew her as a youngster has said.
    But today suspicion is mounting that she was the ringleader behind a bloody massacre in a Kenyan shopping centre in which more than 60 unarmed victims have been slain.
    And it has emerged that her frail 85-year-old grandmother has been admitted to hospital because of the stress of her granddaughter's notoriety.
    Elizabeth Allen, from Banbridge, Co Down, was given a panic alarm to contact security services in case terror suspect Lewthwaite ever made contact.
    Family friends say the pressure of the situation and Lewthwaite's now-global notoriety have taken their toll on the frail pensioner's health and mental well-being.
    Joan Baird, a veteran Ulster Unionist councillor in Banbridge who knows the family, said: 'This is so distressing for everyone. Mrs Allen is 85 and she is in and out of hospital. It is just so distressing.
    'Certainly, everybody in the town is shocked and distressed by the news.'

    Lewthwaite from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, who converted to Islam age 17, was married to Jermaine Lindsay before he blew himself up in the July 7 terror attacks in London in 2005, killing 26.
    The 29-year-old mother of three is already wanted by Kenyan police over alleged links to a terrorist cell that planned to bomb the country’s coast.

    Now it is suspected that she was the mastermind behind the four-day gun and bomb attack on Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi, which has led to a continuing siege in which more than 60 people have lost their lives.
    Born to English soldier Andy Lewthwaite - who met and married Irish Catholic Christine Allen while serving in Northern Ireland during the 1970s - she enjoyed an unremarkable childhood on Banbridge's Whyte Acres estate.
    Lewthwaite was still at primary school when her family moved to Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. In 1995 her parents split.
    Councillor Raj Khan, whose family knew Lewthwaite’s family socially in Aylesbury, said he is surprised at speculation she is involved in the attack in Kenya due to how he remembers her.
    She was an average, British, young, ordinary girl. She had a very great personality. She didn’t have very good confidence,' he said.

    After becoming a Muslim, Lewthwaite changed her name to Sherafiyah and married suicide bomber Lindsay, who she had met on an Islamic internet chatroom.
    Mr Khan recalled a meeting with Lewthwaite and Lindsay regarding a housing issue which took place three or four weeks before the July 7 bombings, and he said she was just as he remembered her.
    'Certainly when I was around her, she was the same person, lacking in confidence.
    'She was not strong-headed. And that’s why I find it absolutely amazing that she is supposed to be the head of an international criminal terrorist organisation,' he said.
    Mr Khan said he was 'perplexed' that someone he knew, who was so 'empty in confidence', was being linked to international terrorism.
    He said he prays that she is not involved, adding: '...and of course my worry is that if she in involved, is she under some kind of duress? Is there other factors involved?
    'Or indeed, is it Samantha? I mean there are so many questions to be answered at the moment before one can make a view.'
    Mr Khan said her family will be 'very upset' if she is involved.

    'Of course like anyone else, they will be very hurt, very upset, very, very upset, but I think they too will be waiting for proof, not speculation,' he said.
    Suspicion that Lewthwaite was in the attack in Nairobi were raised after the Kenyan foreign minister claimed that a British woman who has has allegedly been involved in terrorism 'many times before' was among the militants.
    Amina Mohamed said the woman acted alongside 'two or three' Americans as security forces began a fourth day of fighting at the shopping centre where at least six Britons are known to have died.
    After her husband Lindsay detonated his suicide bomb at on a Piccadilly line tube train between King's Cross and Russell Square stations in 2005, Lewthwaite had told how she was horrified by the massacre.
    But the Jamaican-born Muslim convert, who grew up in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, had never made a secret of his extremist views, alarming teachers by attempting to radicalise younger pupils.
    In 2009 Lewthwaite disappeared with her three children but resurfaced two years later after travelling to Kenya on a false passport.
    The Kenyan authorities issued a photograph of a white woman in a veil who they said was wanted for questioning about a bomb factory in the coastal resort of Mombasa. The woman was Lewthwaite.
    It is understood she has had little contact with relatives in Northern Ireland since her conversion to Islam.

    Mr Khan said he does not think the speculation surrounding Lewthwaite will cause divisions in Aylesbury due to the community’s maturity.
    'Of course if it is Samantha indeed, of course they’ll be very hurt, very upset, as indeed any human being would be, but in terms of causing any differences in our community I think the community is far more mature for that kind of thing,' he said.
    Stuart Osborne, who was until recently the Met's Head of Counter Terrorism Command, told ITV News that any role Lewthwaite has with Islamist militant group al-Shabaab is unclear.
    He said: ‘Lewthwaite has obviously been involved in terrorism or connected with terrorists for some considerable time now. Her role in al-Shabaab is very unclear or even if she has a role within (it).
    ‘She is currently wanted by the Kenyan authorities in relation to an investigation for those who have committed acts of terrorism. But as yet she is untried and unconvicted for those offences.
    ‘Traditionally she would be seen to be somebody as a sympathiser, a facilitator or an instigator of terrorism.
    ‘She has certainly got a large media profile, certainly in the British media press in relation to her activities and her involvement in terrorist activities is still yet to be proven, but as I said she is still wanted for terrorism

    Tuesday, September 24, 2013

    Wanted woman killed in Westgate attack, say UK papers

    Samantha Lewthwaite alias Natalie Faye Webb. Photo | FILE

    In Summary

    • Claims that Lewthwaite was involved in the attack began on Sunday when a number of British papers told of video footage of the attack on a social networking website which appeared to show a balaclava-clad white woman holding a gun.

    By PAUL REDFERNMore by this Author
    British newspapers are claiming that a white woman killed in the security forces seizure of the Westlands mall maybe Samantha Lewthwaite — also known as the ‘‘white widow’’ — and she may have led the terrorist attack on the shopping mall in Westlands.
    A number of respected UK papers including the Daily Telegraph, Guardian and The Times ran with the story Tuesday with the Telegraph saying that British Intelligence officers “are trying to establish whether a white woman reported to be among three dead hostage-takers in Nairobi is the British terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite.”
    The paper also quoted a Kenyan intelligence officer and two soldiers who each claimed that one of the Al-Shabaab terrorists killed by the security forces in the Westgate shopping mall was a white female, contradicting official sources who insisted all the attackers were men. A shop owner also claimed that a white woman pointed a gun at one of her assistants.
    Claims that Lewthwaite was involved in the attack began on Sunday when a number of British papers told of video footage of the attack on a social networking website which appeared to show a balaclava-clad white woman holding a gun.
    Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, played down the claims in a BBC interview and the UK’s Foreign Office says it has no evidence and is unwilling to speculate.
    Asked about reports that Britons may have been involved in planning the attack, Mr Hammond replied: “I’ve seen those reports but there’s no evidence to support those claims.”
    However, The Telegraph says sources within the FCO and British spy agencies have said they cannot rule out the possibility that Lewthwaite, the widow of the July 7 bomber Germaine Lindsay, was involved.
    A senior Whitehall source told The Telegraph it was “likely” that a woman of non-African, and possibly Caucasian, descent will prove to have been among the killers.
    A Kenya Police source is also quoted as saying “there is a strong possibility that Lewthwaite, could be one of the terrorists.”

    'White Widow' rented property in South Africa

    AFP – Wed, Sep 25, 2013
    A copy of the fake South African travelling passport of Samantha Lewthwaite in this handout photo released by the Kenyan police in December 2011. A British security source said on Tuesday it was a possibility that the widow of a suicide bomber who attacked London in 2005 was involved in the siege of a Nairobi shopping mall where Islamist fighters killed at least 62 people. When asked about reports that Lewthwaite, dubbed the "white widow" by the British media, was directly involved in the attack in Kenya, the source said: "It is a possibility. But nothing definitive or
    View Photo
    A copy of the fake South African …
    Johannesburg (AFP) - A British woman thought to be linked to the Nairobi mall attacks used an assumed South African identity to take out bank loans and rent property in Johannesburg, local media reported Wednesday.
    Samantha Lewthwaite -- wanted by Kenyan police for alleged involvement in a separate terror plot -- used the known alias Natalie Faye Webb to rent at least three properties and run up debts of $8,600 (6,400 euros), according to the eNews Channel Africa (eNCA).
    The 29-year-old Muslim convert -- nicknamed the "White Widow" because her husband was among the 2005 London suicide bombers -- signed rental leases around Johannesburg, but it was unclear whether she lived at any of the premises.
    According to credit records released by eNCA, she was listed as living in the city's predominantly South Asian neighbourhood of Mayfair for four years.
    Kenya's foreign minister has said a British woman was among the Islamist attackers who shot dead dozens of people at a Nairobi shopping mall from Saturday.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta later said the reports could not be confirmed.
    But Kenyan authorities issued a wanted notice for Lewthwaite after she entered the country from Tanzania's northeastern Lunga and Namanga border posts in February and August 2011 using a South African passport in the name of Webb.
    Two months later South African clothing stores signalled debt defaults worth almost $2,700.
    In August 2012 a Johannesburg court issued an order against her for defaulting on $2,800 debt with South Africa's First Rand Bank.
    Lewthwaite was married to Germaine Lindsay, one of four suicide bombers who attacked the London transport network in July 2005, killing 52 people.
    A local terror expert and academic said earlier this week that she regularly travels to South Africa and stayed in South Asian suburbs of Johannesburg earlier this year.
    However residents either denied Lewthwaite had lived at the cited addresses or could not remember having seen her.
    Close to a bustling street with shops where women dressed in headscarves walked with their children, the structure of a new building now stands in the yard where two houses were demolished over a year ago.
    "I have not seen her here before," said a neighbour who has lived across the road for seven years, speaking on condition of anonymity.
    A man who identified himself only as Junaid, and said he was redeveloping the property -- bought from a 65-year-old owner two years ago -- denied an English woman had lived there.
    On the other side of the city in the leafy suburb of Bromhof, neighbours who have lived since 2008 across the road from the house Lewthwaite was said to have rented, also could not recall her living there.

    Shabaab finances face squeeze after Kenya attack

    Kenya Defence Forces soldiers patrol the area around Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi September 25, 2013. REUTERS/Noor Khamis
    View Photo

    Reuters/Reuters - Kenya Defence Forces soldiers patrol the area around Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi September 25, 2013. REUTERS/Noor Khamis

    By William Maclean
    DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Shabaab emerged as a regional threat funded by millions of dollars from activities ranging from extortion to taxing charcoal exports, but its attack on a Kenyan shopping mall is expected to provoke a counter-terrorism response aimed at crippling the Somali Islamist group's finances.
    The money is important to al Shabaab, a group whose aims include the wider imposition of Islamic law but whose ability to attract fighters in one of the poorest countries of the world is based largely on its ability to pay them.
    A report by U.N. monitors in July estimated al Shabaab earned more than $25 million a year from illicit exports of charcoal to Gulf Arab states and from taxing the trucking of charcoal to the Somali ports of Kismayu and Barawe.
    Other funds come from informal taxes on small businesses in areas of Somalia that al Shabaab controls, and from donations from Somalis overseas, although these transfers are thought to be declining due to a general disenchantment with the increasingly violent group in the diaspora, diplomats say.
    A security source in the capital, Mogadishu, said al Shabaab was expert at extorting money from small businesses and at setting up front companies whose income was funnelled to the group. Both sorts of company also acted as informers.
    "It's the small little shops where you repair your vehicle, or charge your mobile phone," the source said. "It's a myriad of little businesses, who also help them in their surveillance."
    "There's no need for heavy-handed daily enforcement because everyone knows the penalties for non-compliance are drastic," he said, referring to the amputation of limbs or execution.
    Suspected additional sources of income include militant Islamists overseas and, according to U.N. sanctions monitors, the nearby state of Eritrea.
    The monitors said Eritrea was destabilising Somalia by paying political agents and financing a warlord linked to al Shabaab.
    The Eritrean government, accused by its critics of seeking to use Somali territory to undermine Ethiopia, its old enemy, has long denied meddling in Somalia, saying it has no links to al Shabaab's fight against the Somali government.
    Al Shabaab has been waging an insurgency since 2007 and formally became part of al Qaeda in 2012. It remains Somalia's most powerful non-government armed group despite being pushed out of Mogadishu by an African Union force in 2011.
    Al Shabaab's economic strength is vital to its operations because it can pay its thousands of fighters a monthly salary normally varying between $100 to $300 a month.
    That, more than its declared aim of imposing a strict version of Sharia or Islamic law, is the main incentive to join up, Somali researchers say.
    Ironically, al Shabaab's income may have benefited from an upturn in the Somali economy that followed the partial restoration of order in Mogadishu over the past two years and a growth in investment amid hopes of an end to years of war.
    In the wake of the four-day attack by al Shabaab militants on a Nairobi shopping mall in which at least 72 people were killed, Western counter-terrorism agencies are expected to subject the group's sources of financial support to renewed scrutiny, Somali experts say.
    The success of such efforts will depend to a large extent on the choices made by Somalis, in particular the powerful Somali business community in east Africa.
    According to Ken Menkhaus, a leading U.S. scholar of al Shabaab, the most formidable weapon against al Shabaab may be the Somalia expatriate business community in Kenya, which has emerged as a force in property and trade in the past 20 years.
    Since the collapse of the Somali state in 1991, more than one million Somalis have fled to or through Kenya, and many now have extensive business and real estate investments there.
    Fearing a crackdown on Somali firms by a Kenyan government keen to be seen to be doing something, Somali businessmen in Nairobi might now feel compelled to take their own steps against the group, he wrote on the website
    "Messing with Somali business interests has never advanced the interests of any political actor in Somalia, foreign or local," he said.
    It was up to Somalis to "mobilize against Shabaab and take the movement out once and for all by drying up its financial sources, exposing its operatives, and denying the movement any safe space from which to operate."
    The alternative, he said, was action by foreign governments, but that would almost certainly impact "innocent Somalis and legitimate Somali businesses in Kenya and around the world, and that is not in anyone's interest except Shabaab's."
    Stig Jarle Hansen, a Norwegian expert on the group, told Reuters that what was best known about al Shabaab finances was its system of local taxation in the areas it held, especially the taxation of transport. But verifying this information was difficult and was hampered by hearsay, he said.
    In Somalia, a traditional kinship society, research was complicated by the fact that while someone might nominally be in al Shabaab, in reality people were more loyal to their clan elders, he said.
    Adam Matan, head of the Anti-Tribalism Movement, an advocacy group that campaigns against the political exploitation of clan identity in Somalia, said al Shabaab fighters told him on his research trips to Somalia that money was a key attraction.
    "If you can get a few dollars a month to feed your family, you will take it," said the British-based former Somali refugee, who travels frequently to Somalia, echoing findings in previous Reuters reports about Somali militancy.
    Mohamed Aden Hassan, a researcher at Goldsmiths College in London who studies the Somali diaspora, said he believed diaspora funding had all but dried up for al Shabaab in recent years although there were pockets of sympathy "here and there".
    Al Shabaab remains in control of most of southern and central Somalia, a U.N. report published in July 2013 said.
    According to the report, defectors from al Shabaab said the wage paid to fighters ranged from $100 to $500, "depending upon clan affiliation and seniority".
    In September 2012, al-Shabaab fled Kismayu, the main charcoal export outlet to the Gulf, and Kenyan troops in the African Union peacekeeping force took control.
    The U.N. Security Council banned the export of charcoal from Somalia in February 2012 to help squeeze al Shabaab's finances.
    But shortly after the AU secured the port, Kenyan forces unilaterally lifted the ban, arguing Kismayu's angry charcoal traders could undermine the security of their troops, the U.N. report said. The Kenyan military denied the allegation.
    In the months that followed, al Shabaab got back into the trade thanks to ties to local business networks, earning revenues from about a third of the volumes exported.
    The charcoal is sold largely to customers in Dubai who sell it on elsewhere in the Gulf, the U.N. report said.
    The largest user of the product is Saudi Arabia, according to Farah M. Mohamed, president of the Somali Environment Protection Alliance Network.
    He wrote in a June 2013 blog that Saudi Arabia used Somali charcoal primarily for shisha (hookah) pipes, cooking in upscale restaurants and homes, as camping firewood, and as an extra source of heating in the winter.


    Pupil’s essay may lead to key Westgate attack suspect

    Wednesday, September 25, 2013

    KDF soldiers entering Westgate mall on September 21, 2013 after terrorists attacked Westgate mall. A composition that a pupil wrote at school helped detectives identify a key witness who may provide crucial information on the Saturday’s Westgate Mall attack.  Photo/JEFF ANGOTE
    KDF soldiers entering Westgate mall on September 21, 2013 after terrorists attacked Westgate mall. A composition that a pupil wrote at school helped detectives identify a key witness who may provide crucial information on the Saturday’s Westgate Mall attack. Photo/JEFF ANGOTE

    In Summary

    • The pregnant woman, who stays in Gigiri, rushed home and shared the information with the family members.
    • Through the child, detectives traced the woman who Wednesday gave a detailed description of the man and how he warned her.

    By Nation ReporterMore by this Author
    A composition that a pupil wrote at school helped detectives identify a key witness who may provide crucial information on the Saturday’s Westgate Mall attack.
    The pupil in a Nairobi school, told how his aunt’s life was saved by a stranger who warned her to leave the mall just one hour before the deadly attack.
    The woman was at the mall when a man approached and advised her to leave as quickly as possible since “there was going to be a stampede.”
    The pregnant woman, who stays in Gigiri, rushed home and shared the information with the family members.
    Her nephew then went to school and when asked to write a composition about how he spent his Saturday, he narrated how his aunt survived the attack following the warning.
    According to the pupil’s teachers, who contacted the police about the composition, he had written about what his aunt had told him.
    Through the child, detectives traced the woman who Wednesday gave a detailed description of the man and how he warned her.
    “The woman was told to leave the mall because being pregnant, she could not manage to get out because of the mayhem that was about to unfold. We believe she will give useful information to assist us,” the investigator said.
    This, detectives say, indicates the group had positioned themselves in strategic positions around the mall.

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