Terrorism Arrests and Charges in Mali and Kenya

Reports are coming out today that suspects have been detained or charged in Mali over the killing of RFI journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, and in Kenya relating to the Westgate shopping center attack.

France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who described the journalists’ killings as “cold and calculated assassinations,” declined to comment on whether suspects had been arrested, but reports by AFP and AP indicate that some number of individuals had been detained.  The arrests were reportedly made by French forces operating in the country and the suspects were transferred from the Kidal area, which remains disputed and a key element of peace negotiations between the government and Tuareg militants, to Gao, which is more firmly under government control.

Meanwhile, Kenya authorities have charged four men in connection with the Westgate shopping center attack.  Kenyan officials named them as Mohammed Ahmed Abdi, Liban Abdullah, Adnan Ibrahim, and Hussein Hassan and said that they were foreign nationals.  Their nationalities were not disclosed, but it is believed that they are ethnic Somalis.  One of the possible reasons that Kenyan authorities may not have disclosed the nationalities is that American citizens or permanent residents may be among them.  Recruiting by Al-Shabaab among the Somali diaspora in the United States has become a more pressing concern and reporting about the Westgate incident as it was happening suggested that Americans could have been among the attackers.

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