Kenya Army soldier in Somalia

Kenya Army soldier in Somalia

20 November, 2012

More than a dozen people have been shot,one woman has died and hundreds of shops were burned to the ground in this eastern Kenyan town amid rising Somali-Kenyan tensions, officials said Tuesday.

The violence follows a lethal attack here
on Monday in which three Kenyan soldiers were killed. Local sympathizers of al-Shabab — a Somali Islamist extremist group that Kenyan troops are battling in Somalia — are suspected to be responsible for the soldiers’ deaths, said military spokesman Col. Cyrus Oguna.

Witnesses in Garissa, where most of the
population is ethnic Somali, said Kenyan
troops responded to Monday’s killings
with force, opening fire at random. The
town’s main market was also torched by
the soldiers, said the witnesses. Oguna denied allegations that Kenya’s military was involved in indiscriminate shooting and destruction of property. He said such reports are meant to antagonize local residents against the army.

The military camp in Garissa is a transit
point for Kenyan troops being deployed to Somalia where they join African Union troops to fight the al-Shabab rebels. The three officers killed were part of group five who had stopped at the camp on their way to Somalia. They were killed at a garage where they had gone to change their vehicle’s punctured tire, said Oguna.

Dr. Musa Mohamed, a hospital administrator said 13 people were shot
Tuesday. A witness said one woman had
died. The Red Cross said nearly three
dozen people have been injured.

Kenya’s defense minister,parliamentarians and community leaders toured Garissa later Tuesday to calm tensions. Leaders from Garissa and
surrounding areas condemned the violence and said it illustrated growing xenophobia against the Somali community in Kenya.

Former legislator Billow Kerrow said Somalis in Kenya have long been treated with suspicion by security forces and non-Somalis. Somalis are perceived as a community that harbors and supports terrorist groups and criminals, he said. “Everybody in a community cannot be terrorists,” he said. He said suspicion against the Somali community in Kenya had increased since the country sent troops into Somalia.

“What is happening clearly shows there is xenophobia in the security forces … and civilians,” Kerrow said. He said the Somali community will consider of suing the individual officers who led the operation in Garissa.

Mohammed Shidiye, a former member of
parliament, said ethnic Somalis no longer feel like Kenyan citizens because the community has been marginalized for decades. “The government should clearly say whether we are citizens of this country.We are asking ourselves are we part of this state,” he said.

The violence is the latest example of
rising tensions between Somali-Kenyans
and Kenyans with no ties to Somalia. Kenyan police fired bullets and tear gas in downtown Nairobi on Monday in an effort to stop rioters from fighting with ethnic Somalis one day after an improvised explosive device ripped through a bus and killed nine people. Sunday’s bomb exploded in a bus in Eastleigh, where Nairobi’s Somali community lives, killing nine people. In response, angry mobs of Kenyans
attacked the ethnic Somalis with stones
and looted their homes. The Somalis
defended themselves with machetes.

Strained relations between Kenyans and
ethnic Somalis go back decades, to when post-colonial boundaries were drawn. But the most recent flare-up began in October 2011, when Kenya sent troops into Somalia to fight the terror group al- Shabab.

After that deployment, al-Shabab
threatened large-scale attacks in Kenya.
Bomb and grenade attacks increased
steadily, angering many Kenyans.


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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  1. beegeagle says:

    D-E-S says

    [quote]…“What is happening clearly
    shows there is xenophobia in the
    security forces … and civilians,” Kerrow
    said. He said the Somali community will
    consider of suing the individual officers
    who led the operation in Garissa.”…. [end quote]

    ….MMmmh I like that jump in practical
    rationalizing, sooner or later that
    constitution will have to work and it
    will work be it with great difficulties,
    but it’s about time Kenyans and Africans in general realised that ‘the
    true pathway to communal legitimacy
    and retributions is right through the
    heart of the judiciary’

    I would dare any fool-hardy government to ignore that at their own peril. That is the proper way to start a fight in my
    opinion…Allow a nation to ‘politicaly
    soul search’ without initially having to
    blind itself with body-counts and
    ilegitimate time-wasting huff-puff

  2. beegeagle says:

    by Chris Mgidu
    NAIROBI, Nov. 22 (Xinhua)

    Kenya’s military has denied committing atrocities in the northern town of Garissa where three of its soldiers were killed on Monday by unknown assailants believed to be Al-Shabaab suspects from neighboring Somalia.

    In a statement released on Thursday,Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna said the soldiers were not involved in the criminal activity such as rape, torture, looting, killing of women,children and burning of business and residential property in Garissa, as been claimed.

    “It should be appreciated that following the killing of the soldiers and subsequently the hot pursuit of the gunmen mayhem broke out with locals engaging security agencies through violence, prompting the police to fire teargas to control the irate crowd,” Oguna said. At least one person was killed and dozens injured in fresh violence on Tuesday in Garissa town following the killing of three soldiers by unknown gunmen on Monday.

    Garissa Provincial Hospital Medical
    Superintendent Dr. Musa Mohammed confirmed the death of a woman in the clashes between security forces and residents in Garissa town. The slain woman was in the company of other protestors who were trying to block the military vehicles along Kismayo road that were headed to Somalia.

    Mohammed said those admitted had various injuries including gunshot wounds as the locals protested the reacting by the police and KDF troops on Monday after the killing of three soldiers on Monday. The gunmen had attacked five soldiers on Monday while they were in the process of unbolting the punctured tyre, shooting dead three of them. Oguna said the other two could not fight back to avoid collateral damage since people had started scampering for safety following the gunshots.

    Oguna said upon the incident being
    reported at the camp later on Monday, a platoon was dispatched to go and secure the vehicle and bodies of the fallen soldiers. “During this period information was received from the locals that the assailants had fled into a village called Bula Mzuri, necessitating a joint operation between Kenya police and KDF in hot pursuit of the fleeing criminals,” he said.

    “A second platoon was dispatched to assist in that search; however it’s important to note that KDF surrounded the village while the Kenya police carried out the actual search. The search recovered a communication device. At 16:30 the exercise was called off and by
    17:00 all KDF soldiers were back in camp,”he said.

    The military spokesman said the
    allegations suggesting KDF committed atrocities in the restive Garissa are false and must cease. He said that the soldiers received intelligence information on Monday evening that a hotel, which located far from the tyre repair point and the village where KDF had surrounded, had been set ablaze and the fire had extended to other buildings.

    “Our attention has also been drawn to all manner of opinions and assertions on how KDF was deployed in Garissa for ‘this operation’. It is important for Kenyans to know that the military has been deployed in Garissa and other locations in the country since independence,” Oguna said.

    He said the KDF was therefore not
    deployed in Garissa for they were already there, adding that the soldiers together with other security agencies after the senseless murder of three soldiers, who had just arrived from Kismayo, embarked on an immediate hot pursuit of the murderers “as a natural human instinct would dictate.”

    He said the fresh violence which erupted on Tuesday occurred when Garissa military camp was fired at by unknown gunmen but stressed that military personnel did not return fire but moved to secure the camp and the airstrip. Oguna said later on Tuesday a convoy heading to Wajir in northern Kenya encountered a makeshift stones

    “Soldiers dismounted from the vehicles to clear stones off the road and it is at this point that unruly youth pelted them with stones forcing them to shoot in the air to disperse them and continue on their journey,” he explained. He said the KDF is preparing a detailed report on the subject, “at the same time we regret the murder of our colleagues and condole with the bereaved families.”

    “We wish to state that KDF remains committed to ensuring that the security of this nation is maintained and when called upon to help in internal security KDF will conduct such operations with
    utmost care and concern of innocent civilians,” he added.

    Garissa town in northern Kenya has been the site of increasing grenade and gun attacks targeting both the Kenyan security forces and civilians since October 2011, when Kenyan military entered Somalia in pursuit of the militant Somali armed group Al-Shabaab. Kenya said the deployment of her troops in the Somali southern regions have so far helped to prevent the movement of explosives to the strategic towns of southern Somalia, the conduit points for the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), the counterfeit electronics and contraband sugar smuggling across the region.

    Military officials said these regions are crucial to the stabilization of Kenya’s coastal and northeastern provinces, which have been targeted by attackers preying on soft civilian targets.

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