Kenya: Amid Terrorist Attacks, Offensive Against al Shabab Will Continue

On Sunday, “masked assailants launched simultaneous gun and grenade raids on two churches in…Garissa, the north Kenya town which has been used as a base for operations against al Qaeda-linked insurgents in Somalia.”

IRIN, meanwhile, reports on how Mombasa, Kenya is grappling with a recent spate of terrorist attacks:

Following three grenade attacks in recent months and a US “terror” alert, residents of the coastal Kenyan city of Mombasa are bracing themselves for the possibility of yet more violence; local leaders are working towards better disaster preparedness and improvements in the emergency services.

Three people lost their lives after a grenade attack on a bar in the Mshomoroni area of Mombasa on the night of 24 June, a day after the US issued a warning of an imminent attack. One person was killed and several injured in a suspected grenade attack on 15 May at a Mombasa sports bar; two grenade attacks in the city on 31 March left at least 15 injured. There have also been a spate of attacks in the capital, Nairobi, and northeastern areas of the country since Kenya crossed into southern Somalia in October 2011 to help stamp out the radical Islamist group, Al Shabab.

Kenyan leaders, however, say that the offensive in Somalia will continue. Speaking in Garissa,

Prime Minister Raila Odinga…ruled out pulling Kenyan troops from Somalia, saying it will be tantamount to surrendering to terrorism.
He made it clear that Kenyan troops will not leave Somalia until the country is liberated and pacified, noting Kenya will not be at peace until Somalia which has not known peace for two decades realizes peace.
“We want Somalia to be peaceful so that the 500,000 Somali refugees being hosted in Dadaab refugee camp can go back to their country to relieve Kenya of the burden of hosting them,” he said.
“Surrender is therefore not an option for us because if we leave Somalia, anarchy will set in which will spill over the borders.”

Kenyan forces’ next target in Somalia is the port city and al Shabab stronghold Kismayo, which they hope to take by August.

4 thoughts on “Kenya: Amid Terrorist Attacks, Offensive Against al Shabab Will Continue

  1. Kenya’s BEST exit strategy will be the creation of viable JUBBALAND Regional State ( along the lines of the two Northern Somali Regional States of Puntland and Somaliland). This new regional state is the richest in terms of resources and is inhabited by erstwhile feuding numerous clans of which the Darood is the predominant. The international community know this well and in fact read the riots’s act to the feuding clans  in recently summit held in a secluded place in Nairobi.  

    If Kenya with the assistance of the International community make sure this happens BEFORE the liberation of Kismayo and follow it with tangible reconstruction projects and make sure no clan ( minor or major is left behind), Kenya then will have its honorable exit and the international community will have their peace from this chaos and the world’s biggest refugee camp will be emptied and Somalis will live harmoniously together. 

    These are, however, great expectations and seeing is believing. There is only few weeks left and time will tell where this roller coaster ends. Enjoy the ride.

  2. That is an enormous task to complete in a month, especially when the UN is doing everything it can just to hold Somalia’s national election process together. Given how much time is needed just to reach Kismayo and the need to consolidate military gains into non-military progress, a quick exit appears out of the question for Nairobi. Better to get a counterinsurgency right the first time, though, instead of rushing it. Neither the military nor political components of the international community’s plan can afford to fail at this point.

  3. What kind of military idiocracy is it to tell the enemy when to attack! “Hey, we are coming to attack Kismayo by August – so get ready and wait for us!!!” Is that how it works? Last year, their General was informing everyone ( including Alshabab) about Kenya’s planned military tactics on tweeter! Their prime minister was in Israel lobbying the Israeli’s to support Kenya against Alshabab on Television(can you believe this? – Why matters of extreme sensitivity on TV?). They have been talking about Kismayo for more than a year now- but what we are seeing is Alshbaab in Nairobi and Mombassa, than Kenyan army in Kismayo. Let the Kenyans learn to talk less and do more! Look what the Ethiopian army is doing in Somalia! Do your action quietly – you do not have to talk! Your actions will speak!!!

    • Announcing beforehand the capture of Kismayo, though unprofessional, is not the issue. It is almost certain that will happen. The forces arrayed against the defenders is simply awesome.  What worries me, though, is  what comes after that. A lot will depend on how the victors, now loosely allied,  act. Will they show leadership, will, commitment, magnanimity, genuine reconciliation, good governance, inclusivity. Also, if the international community match those efforts without delay. It is tough task. 

      Give Kenya some slack. This is their first war EVER. And certainly they are not the first to announce their war deadlines. Look at Afghanistan. 

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