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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Breaking News: Two Explosions Rock Garissa Tonight

Two separate explosions targeting Non-Somalis took place in Garissa tonight. The explosions have so far claimed six lives and injured thirty more.

In Ngamia Road, the attackers targeted labourers in the construction industry most of whom are Kambas. A grenade was lobbed into a restaurant near Boolimoog clinic where these workers frequent. Five died here

The second explosion was in down-town Garissa at Kwa Chege's Restaurant near Jamia mosque. One person is said to have died there. Patrons were watching the 7pm news when an unknown person lobbed a grenade into the restaurant.

The attackers are said to have escaped on bodabodas. (unconfirmed)

Heavy police presence is reported in both places. Unfortunately there are no ambulances or paramedics treating and evacuating the victims. Many are reportedly walking to the hospital on their own.

As usual, witnesses are reporting police meting out severe beatings on local Garissans for no apparent reason, other being Somali. This is counter-productive and bound to radicalize the youth. It's no way to win an asymmetrical war like the one Al-Shabab is waging on Kenya.

It's a safe bet now that Garissa is no longer the safest city in East and Central Africa.

Pray for peace and safety. These are truly perilous times.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Private Omar Mahmud Adan Of Garissa in the frontlines defending Kenya

While mainstream Somalis in Kenya have been facing the constant discrimination and racism against them with remarkable stoicism  and resolve, some of our Somali boys are on the front-lines defending this country at a huge cost.

Regrettably many in this country throw outlandish and slanderous statements at Private Omar and his ethnic community based solely on their uniqueness.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Our Lame Media

Human beings have a noted bias towards those of their kind and creed. This explains why Kenya's media has been the equivalent of a Nazi propaganda machine when it comes to Kenya's war on Somalia.  The media has been forever overlooking the serious crimes the army has been accused of committing in anyplace it has ever been deployed to; be it Mount ElgonMandera and now Somalia.

I'm not sure if its tribal. Tribal loyalty mainly consists of judging people solely by which side they are on and if the coverage is anything to go by, the media has been nothing short of cheer-leader for this effort.

It's not so much as being patriotic, it's that they've been consistently pursuing hatred and bigotry against Somalis for half a decade now.

The media eschews fairness and accountability, writes editorial urging the government to invade Somalia and casts a blind-eye on all the shortcomings of the military and the political class. It's like they've been paid to shill for all that is bad about this country.

Joseph Goebbels' (Hitler's propaganda minister) infamous propaganda principles included this

"Propaganda must facilitate the displacement of aggression by specifying the target of hatred."

Clearly some at NTV, KTN and Citizen have been reading this.

I hope this instills some cognitive dissonance in you and makes you seek information from unbiased sources. What we have in Kenya is a sham hate mongering machine that masquerades as MEDIA.

Let's all pray for peace and brotherly love.

Human Rights Watch Lambastes Kenya For Rights Violations in a Letter

Letter to Yusuf Haji, Minister of State for Defence
NOVEMBER 18, 2011

Dear Hon. Haji:

I am writing on behalf of Human Rights Watch to raise concerns regarding possible violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law by elements of the Kenyan armed forces during Operation “Linda Nchi.”

Human Rights Watch researches violations of human rights and the laws of war by governments and non-state armed groups in more than 80 countries around the world. We raise our concerns with the responsible parties and with other concerned actors. For all abuses, we press for justice and accountability.

One focus of Human Rights Watch’s work is the protection of civilians during armed conflict. International humanitarian law (the laws of war) seeks to minimize civilian casualties during armed conflict, and prohibits deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against civilians. It applies to all parties to a conflict, both government forces and non-state armed groups. The protection of basic civil and political rights under international human rights law must be assured in times of conflict as in times of peace.

We are concerned about possible violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by Kenyan armed forces during three incidents connected to Operation Linda Nchi. We wish to know what steps the Kenyan government is taking to investigate the incidents and its response in the event of any finding of wrongdoing.

We would appreciate your response to the questions raised below.

On October 30, 2011, the Kenyan air force carried out an attack with aerial bombardment that struck an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp on the outskirts of the town of Jilib in Somalia. The international humanitarian organization Médecins sans Frontières reported treating 45 wounded people, including 31 children, and confirmed five civilian deaths following the aerial bombardment.
I. Possible Unlawful Attack in Jilib, Somalia
On November 1, Kenyan Armed Forces spokesperson Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir stated that the Kenyan air force attack at Jilib had only killed members of the Islamist militant group al-Shabaab. A Department of Defence statement claimed that any civilian casualties might be due to the fact that “[u]pon the aerial attack an Al Shabaab driver drove off a technical battle wagon … [that] exploded while at the camp causing the reported deaths and injuries.” However, a civilian wounded in the attack told Human Rights Watch that she had seen a dark green plane drop one bomb on the camp. She said the plane then turned around, came back and dropped another bomb on the camp that wounded her, and started firing machinegun rounds.

International humanitarian law requires all parties to an armed conflict to only target combatants and never civilians. Attacks that do not distinguish between combatants and civilians are indiscriminate, and are a serious violation of the laws of war. Civilians have reported that al-Shabaab members were expected at the IDP camp. But a camp resident told Human Rights Watch that al-Shabaab members were not present at the time of the bombing as they were praying at a mosque in Jilib town, along with many of the town's male residents. Al Shabaab unlawfully places civilians at risk whenever they place their fighters inside the IDP camp. However, under the laws of war this would not justify indiscriminate bombing of the camp by Kenyan forces.

On November 2, Prime Minister Raila Odinga publicly promised that there would be investigations into any civilian deaths that occurred as a result of the military operation. Governments have a responsibility to investigate credible reports of violations of international humanitarian law and appropriately prosecute those responsible.

1. What investigations have the Kenyan armed forces undertaken thus far into possible violations of the laws of war that occurred in the Jilib IDP camp as a result of the military operation? 

2. What steps have been taken to hold accountable any military personnel found to be responsible for serious violations of the laws of war and to prevent such violations in the future?

3.What compensation is the Kenyan government planning on offering to civilians for loss of life, injury, and property damage if investigations determine Kenyan responsibility for unlawful attacks? 

4. More generally, what precautions are the Kenyan forces taking during their military operations to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law? What training in international humanitarian law have the Kenyan forces engaged in Somalia received? 

II. Possible Unlawful Attack near Kiunga, Kenya
On the night of November 3 the Kenyan navy intercepted a fishing boat near Kiunga, on the Kenyan coast near the Somalia border. According to research conducted by the Muslim Human Rights Forum (MHRF) and shared with Human Rights Watch, the fishing boat voluntarily came to shore. Navy personnel searched and interrogated the persons on the fishing boat. The passengers, all of whom were Kenyans from Ngomeni, explained that they were returning from two months at sea, and had been carried by the tides toward Somalia, but were trying to make their way back to Ngomeni, near Malindi. The navy instructed the fishing boat to remain anchored for the night and promised to escort it to Ngomeni the next morning. At approximately 1 a.m. on November 4, the navy ship approached and fired on the fishing boat, which remained anchored off the shore of Kiunga.

According to MHRF, four civilians were killed, all of them elderly Kenyans: Mohamed Masuo, 85, Haji Omar Mote, 73, Isa Yusuf, 61, and Salim Chechemeyo, 60. The remaining fishermen swam to shore and were detained by the Kenyan armed forces at Ishakani. At least two of them had gunshot wounds. At the army base, they were allegedly severely beaten by Kenyan military personnel before being transferred to police custody and eventually released.

This account calls into question the version of events put forward by the Ministry of Defence. According to a statement by Major Chirchir on November 4, the fishing boat was fired upon after it refused an order from the navy ship to stop for identification.

International humanitarian law applies at sea and prohibits deliberate attacks on civilians. It requires that warring parties take all feasible precautions to ensure that objects attacked are valid military targets. International human rights law, which was also applicable, permits the use of lethal force outside of zones of armed conflict only when it is strictly and directly necessary to save human life.

1. What investigations, if any, have been undertaken into the conduct of navy personnel on the navy ship that fired on the fishing boat near Kiunga? Have any navy personnel been disciplined or otherwise held accountable? 

2. What investigations have been undertaken into allegations of mistreatment of fishermen detained at Ishakani?

3. What compensation is the Kenyan government planning on offering to civilians for civilian loss of life, injury, and property damagefor unlawful attacks or use of force? 

III. Possible Arbitrary Detention and Mistreatment in Garissa, Kenya
Human Rights Watch has received reports that Kenyan military personnel have been engaged in arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of civilians in Garissa, near the Somali border. A witness told Human Rights Watch that on November 11, military personnel detained individuals solely on the basis of their Somali appearance. The witness saw military personnel picking up suspects at pubs around Garissa, including DRC Pub and Locus; he later drove to Town Club and saw military personnel detaining additional suspects there, as well as pulling drivers out of taxis. The witness stated that those picked up by military personnel were forced to sit in mud and dirty water outside these locations. According to the witness, a number of them were beaten by military personnel while being interrogated. Most were then released after interrogation, but some were detained. The witness also heard reports that people were detained and beaten in Village Takwa.

Both international humanitarian and human rights law prohibits discrimination on the basis of ethnicity and national origin. Detention on such a basis is a violation of international law, as is all mistreatment of persons in custody.

1. On what legal basis did the military detain and interrogate civilians at Garissa?

2. What investigations have been undertaken into allegations of mistreatment of detained persons in Garissa?

3. What compensation is the Kenyan government planning on offering to civilians for injury from mistreatment?

The Kenyan Armed Forces have an international legal obligation to conduct any and all operations, both within and outside of Kenya, in accordance with international human rights law and international humanitarian law. Human Rights Watch will continue to monitor the situation in Kenya and Somalia in order to promote compliance with international law by all parties to the conflict. We would greatly appreciate your response to these questions.

Yours sincerely,
Daniel Bekele
Director, Africa Division
Human Rights Watch

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Cost of War; Trade Slump in Garissa

It's neither the Politicians nor the Generals that pay the price for war. It's rather the citizenry that is already suffocated by inflation and scarcity. 

And I'm not saying this to vindicate my stand on the occupation of Somalia by Kenya's Army.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Kleptocracy That is Kenya

In a post I wrote about 11 months ago titled "Kenya: The African Mexico, its Stockholm Syndrome and What Somalis Can do to change their fortunes" I wrote this telling paragraph:

 Kenya is being over-run by drug cartels and narco-hitmen. Its unprofessional and untrained police officers are getting whacked Mafia style right in the heart of Nairobi while they are pre-occupied with explaining their bad fortunes on non existent 'terrorists' and burqa clad femme fatales.
The uptick in clashes between Police and drug traffickers is a sign that Kenya's long running drug problem is coming of age. We have now entered a new phase where drug barons feel powerful enough to take on the weak  and co-opted police force. Kenya's is fast morphing into a Mexico. Its now the equivalent of a Brazilian Favella. Traffickers have heavily embedded themselves deep into every level of society and  are virtually controlling law enforcement on this almost failed state.

That prognosis still holds true today and this is the actual war we should be fighting today.

Much of the hooblah surrounding Kenya's occupation of Southern Somalia has gone overboard now. Those of us opposed to the Somali war are opposing it on philosophical, humanitarian and economic grounds. We are not opposed to the war in Somalia because we are lily-livered weaklings. We understand declaring war is different from winning a war and Kenya has over the past 47 years shown that it is bad at fighting.

There is a temptation to take uncritical pride in your country when its defending you against enemies foreign even if that enemy is the imagination of a couple of brain-addled politicians.

The real war Kenya's security apparatus should be fighting is the one against narcotics. Our youths and children deserve to be protected from the evils of hard drugs. Our greatest enemy is the insidiousness of  drugs, the way it separates families and corrupts every lever of our society.

The video embedded below is a good indication.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Breaking: Bomb Explodes in a Church Near County High

A grenade attack killed two people in the town of Garissa in northern Kenya on Saturday and an explosive device was found close by, local residents said.
"We heard a blast and saw a flash light up the area. I rushed to the site and saw two people lying in a pool of blood, dead. Three others were wounded and screaming for help," Garissa resident Abdirahman Yussuf told Reuters.
A short while earlier, a bomb hidden in a bag was found planted beneath a power transformer opposite a military camp, eye witnesses said. It did not detonate. (Reporting by Daud Yussuf and Noor Ali

Eid Celebrations in Garissa tomorrow will tempered by the realization that two innocent people were heinously murdered in our city for their beliefs. In a county where religious diversity is the norm, this comes as a shock.

We pray for the quick recovery of those injured. May Allah grant us peace during Eid-ul-Adha

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Kenyan Somalis at Risk of Xenophobic Attacks

Apparently people are shocked that the constant vilification of Somalis on TV, Social Media and Parliament could lead to reprisal attacks against them. Some of us are on the record stating the obvious long before this war.

The distrust of Somalis will always hurt national cohesion more than it will harm actual Somalis living in Kenya. To the extent that there is a significant portion of the Kenyan populace that is somaliphobic, I think that emanates from trade envy and a failure to understand the significant role we played in this country's history. Historical revisionism has edited out the vital role Somalis hold in this nation and our contribution to the remarkable success of the Kenyan economy in the past decade.

It doesn't help either that we have brain-dead leaders who continue to feed upon our disenfranchisement rather than unity. The unintended consequence of  this conflation of Somalis with Al-Shabab might be the unification of all Somalis living in Kenya.

Let me get to the point of this post.. which is this assessment offered by the head of NCIC regarding Somali Kenyans.

The continued branding of Kenyan Somalis as Al-Shabaab sympathisers could fuel xenophobic attacks against them, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission has warned.
NCIC also criticised Friday’s attack on presidential hopeful Raphael Tuju who was on a campaign tour in Kisumu, which it described as the "apex in the country’s pyramid of intolerance".
On the hate propaganda targeted at Kenyan Somali community, chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia said this was being propagated through social media, broadcasts and SMS text messages.
“These include one that advises Kenyans to alight from matatus if they get on board. This outrightly amounts to fear mongering and is likely to fuel xenophobic attacks against the community. We shall not allow this to happen,” said Mr Kibunjia at the Commission’s Delta House headquarters in Nairobi Saturday.
“People become Al-Shabaab or any militia group on their individual capacity and not as an ethnic group or race,” he said citing Elgiva Bwire Oliacha, the self-confessed terrorist, who pleaded guilty to the grenade attacks in Nairobi last month.

Finally, I received an e-mail, yesterday, from a friend asking me to make a distinction between Somali Kenyans and Somali refugees so (non-Somali) readers can know who I'm referring to. I refuse to do so mainly because those who hate us for being Somali generally hate us without making any such distinction. I don't think selling out my refugee brethren would make them accept me for the Kenyan that I am anymore.

Garissa Police Arrest 70 in a Swoop on Chang'aa Den Kambi Moto

Another indication of the total inefficacy of Garissa's Ulamaa and the erosion of the city's Islamic identity comes to us via this report filed by Stephen Astariko.

Administration police officers yesterday raided chang'aa dens in Garissa town and its surroundings and arrested 70 people and seized 1,000 litres of chang'aa. Police officers were ordered to conduct the raids after receiving information from wananchi that criminals believed to be al Shabaab sympathisers were hiding in the dens.
Speaking after arresting the suspects and impounding more than 1,000 litres of chang'aa, Garissa acting DC Ambroce Lochokwe said that the raids are meant to flush out gangsters hiding in the dens. One youth who narrowly escaped the police dragnet said he had started seeing strange faces at the place that he frequented.
"One heavily built youthful looking man came here (kambi ya moto) two days ago and found me enjoying a glass of chang'aa and started asking me questions about this town. I then become suspicious about him, he disappeared before I raised the alarm," said the man who identified himself only as Musyoka. Lochokwe while briefing the media said the crackdown will continue until all the dens that harbour criminals are 'completely done away with.

Now I'm not against people who don't share my beliefs and values enjoying their evening pint so long as they are doing so legally and are not a threat to the public. But this popping up of dens where dangerous liquor is manufactured and sold is a threat to public health and safety.