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Kenya Pressured to Prove Alleged Strike Against al-Shabab

by Mohammed Yusuf November 24, 2014

Somali militant group al-Shabab is denying Kenya's claim that its forces have killed more than 100 al-Shabab fighters. Kenya says it launched raids along the Somali border after al-Shabab attacked a bus in northeastern Kenya, killing 28 people. There is anger toward the government for failing to protect Kenyans from the militants.

Pressure is mounting on the Kenyan government to provide evidence that its forces killed more than 100 al-Shabab militants operating along the Kenya-Somalia border, including those behind a deadly attack on a bus on Saturday.

Police in northeastern Kenya and witnesses said gunmen ambushed the bus and killed 28 non-Muslims who were singled out from the 60 passengers.

Al-Shabab strike

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was retaliation for recent raids Kenyan security forces carried out on mosques in Mombasa.

In an address Sunday to the nation, Deputy President William Ruto said Kenyan forces have carried out operations targeting the militant group's fighters and a training camp in southern Somalia.

'Two successful operations in the hideouts of the perpetrators of the Mandera execution were swiftly carried out across the border. Our retaliatory action left in its trail more than 100 fatalities. It also destroyed four technicals and a camp from which this crime was planned,' said Ruto.

In a statement, al-Shabab said none of its forces have been killed, and said Kenya's assertions were baseless and unfounded. The group further said Kenyan officials are trying to cover up their failure to provide security.

Kenya has witnessed a series of deadly attacks over the last three years, ever since it sent troops into Somalia to fight al-Shabab. The deadliest was the assault on a Nairobi shopping mall in September 2013 that left more than 70 people dead.

Ahead of this latest attack, Mandera Governor Ali Roba shared an intelligence report with security agencies that said there was increased al-Shabab activity near the border and the group was planning to carry out more attacks.

The governor said his warnings were ignored and no actions were taken.

'About two weeks ago, I shared grave concerns about increased terror activities along our borders, which were downplayed and termed as the governor was politicking. It's better to respond to every intel you get and find nothing than fail to respond to information and put the country to sleep,' said Roba.

Security overhaul

Kenya's police chief has denied receiving intelligence about the attack or terror threats.

Visiting families who lost loved ones in Saturday's attack, opposition leader and former prime minister Raila Odinga called for an overhaul of the security apparatus and for the government to stop paying lip-service in matters of security.

'There is no evidence that people have been killed, the camp they have bombed might have been empty, those people would have been stupid to go back to those camps,' said Odinga. 'So we want to tell the vice president that the time for theatrics has run out. We are tired of you coming to the screens on TV telling Kenyans action is going to be taken, 'we will hunt them, we will find them, they cannot hide,' they have hidden from last year.'

Al-Shabab does not have a base in Kenya, but has vowed it will continue to carry out attacks so long as Kenyan troops are still in Somalia.

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