Miraa transporters kidnapped by al Shabaab still missing

Deputy Inspector General of police Samuel Arachi has denied allegations that five men kidnapped by Al-Shabaab on Friday last week in Kiunga Lamu East have been released.

Arachi said the five are yet to be found and that their has been no communication to their respective families as claimed. He said a search and rescue operation for the five is still on as well as a hunt for the militiamen.

“We have deployed surveillance on the ground and in the air in a bid to rescue the Kenyans and apprehend the criminals,” Arachi said. The five were waylaid by heavily armed al Shabaab assailants while ferrying Miraa in two Toyota Land Cruisers from Meru to Kiunga.

Arachi said the kidnappers abandoned the two vehicles and offloaded the miraa after the multi-agency operation started.

Read more: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-193907/miraa-transporters-kidnapped-al-shabaab-still-missing-arachi

Somali president survives assassination attempt

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud narrowly escaped an assassination attempt Saturday by Islamist militant group al-Shabaab, according to military officials and an al-Shabaab commander.

The al-Qaeda-linked militants launched a mortar attack at the President’s plane as it was trying to land at the airport of the southern town of Barawe, military officials said.

None of the artillery hit the target.

The plane was carrying Mohamud as well as several ministers. The delegation planned to visit Barawe after the army recently recaptured the town from al-Shabaab.

The militants claimed responsibility for the attack shortly thereafter.

Read more: http://www.timeslive.co.za/africa/2014/10/11/somali-president-survives-assassination-attempt-by-militant

5 people still missing after being hijacked in Lamu

The whereabouts of five people and two vehicles hijacked by suspected Al-Shabaab militiamen in Lamu on Friday remain unknown.

Witness reports however say the vehicles have been spotted in Jilb, a stronghold of the Al shabaab militant group.

The armed attackers intercepted the two Toyota Land Cruiser pick-ups, which were transporting miraa between Milimani and Basuba in Lamu East at around 8.30am Friday.

They took off with the five occupants of both vehicles, which were transporting miraa to Somalia.

This is the second attack to happen in the same area.

In August, a driver was beheaded and two vehicles taken away. To date no recovery has been made.

Why Terrorists Love Twitter and other social media sites

In 2011, the Somali Islamist group known as Al-Shabab took to Twitter. Its official handle taunted the group’s enemies, boasted of battlefield triumphs and shared images from the front lines of conflict zones. It sparred with political antagonists, rattling off missives in grandiose English. The terrorists—like the site’s less murderous users—used Twitter to share news and promote their brand. In 2013, Al-Shabab account live-tweeted commentary as allied fighters carried out a terrorist attack at  Nairobi Westgate shopping mall.

Terrorists love Twitter. That includes the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), the Sunni Muslim extremists whom the U.S. is targeting in an expanded military campaign. ISIS has emerged as the most sophisticated group yet at using the service to spread its bloodthirsty message. And when ISIS jihadists and tens of thousands of acolytes swarmed Twitter in recent months, it raised the question of how social media sites should respond when unsavory groups colonize their platform.

There are no easy answers. Social-media networks exist so users can share information; sites like Twitter are neither equipped nor inclined to police large numbers of rogue feeds themselves. And within the intelligence community, there is no consensus on whether the use of sites like Twitter as a propaganda tool hurts or helps intelligence interests. To some observers, Twitter has been derelict in allowing extremist accounts to flourish and others are of the opinion that there is a case to be made for removing the content or removing the most prolific [jihadist] accounts online.

Read more: http://time.com/3319278/isis-isil-twitter

Armed gang attacks police station in Garissa

Several police officers have been reported missing following a raid on Bodhai police station in Garissa by an armed gang on Monday.

The gang attacked the station which is near the border with Lamu and burnt down a police car.

The motive of the attack is still unclear but initial investigations are linking it to the Al-Shabaab militia.

The Somalia based militia has been blamed for recent attacks in the region that have left more than 100 people dead, displaced hundreds of families and destroyed property.