Tag Archives: Al-Shabaab

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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AMISOM Destroys Al-Shabaab Camp

An official with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) told Voice of America’s Somali Service yesterday that the AU force had launched an attack on training camp used by the Al Qaeda-linked militant organization Al-Shabaab Somalia’s Dinsoor region in the south of the country.

The Kenyan Defense Ministry said that its contingent specifically was responsible for the attack, which it said consisted of an airstrike that “completely destroyed” the camp.  It was estimated that over three hundred recruits were in the camp at the time of the attack and that many of them had been killed.

The Kenyan Defense Ministry indicated that militants responsible for the attack on the Westgate shopping center in Nairobi in September had been directly linked to the camp.  The attack followed a strike in the town of Jilib on Monday, believed to have been a US strike involving an unmanned aerial vehicle.  This strike was reported to have killed Ibrahim Ali Abdi, said to be the mastermind behind Al-Shabaab’s suicide missions.  The US also provides considerable training and material support for AU forces deploying to Somalia as part of AMISOM through the Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) program, which is led and funded by the US Department of State.