Alshabab commander captured near Kenya border

Authorities in Somalia say they have captured one of the most wanted al-Shabab commanders.

Zakariye Ismail Hersi was captured in a raid Saturday morning in the town of El Wak near the border with Kenya.

General Abbas Ibrahim Gurey, the commander of Somali government troops in the southern Gedo region, told VOA’s Somali service that authorities received a tip from members of the public that al-Shabab suspects were hiding in a house.

Gurey said that Hersi was captured with his secretary. The general said Hersi, who had a pistol on him, did not put up any resistance during the raid.

In June 2012, the U.S. put a $3 million reward for the capture of Hersi, describing him as an associate of former al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane.

In an interview with VOA Saturday while in custody, Hersi himself confirmed that he was a member of al-Shabab. He said he left the group 18 months ago after differences with the leadership.

He said he was not aware if the U.S. had placed a bounty on him.

Hersi said he never became the intelligence chief of al-Shabab, as had earlier been reported.  He said he held other positions, including head of Regional Administrations and was one of the commanders of al-Shabab militias.

The former head of the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, Matty Bryden, described Hersi as a senior official in al-Shabab who was identified by many members of the group as its intelligence chief at one time.


Gunmen shoot at a Lamu bound bus, police pursuing attackers

A Lamu bound bus was Saturday evening waylaid and shot at by suspected Al shabaab militia at Lango La Simba area in Nyongoro/Witu division in Lamu.

In the 3pm incident, witnesses say about four men stopped and shot at the Tawakal bus forcing it to stop.

The bus was heading to Lamu from Mombasa with 50 passengers before the incident.

According to Gerald Mwangi who was one of the passengers, the four men sprayed bullets at the tyres forcing the driver to stop.

“When we were passing through Lango La Simba area I noticed four men emerge from the bushes from the side I was seated. They had very long guns. I then saw them aim and start shooting at the bus tyres and windows. We all lay down on our seats,” said Mwangi.

“When the bus stopped, they entered the bus and started scrutinizing each of us without uttering anything. After about seven minutes, they told us in Kiswahili that it was not their wish that they had waylaid us(sio kupenda kwetu tuwasimamishe). They then walked out of the bus and headed back into the bushes where they had emerged from,” he said.

“Their faces were covered and they spoke very poor Kiswahili which had a heavy Somali accent. We thank God they didn’t harm us but we can’t help but wonder what their real intention was,” said Mwangi.

Speaking to The Star Newspaper  on phone, Lamu county commander Ephantus Kiura confirmed the attack.

“I can confirm that a bus belonging to the Tawakal Bus Company was attacked at Lango La Simba in Witu division at around 3pm by four people we highly suspect to be militiamen. There are no casualties and all the passengers are fine. We think this was a trial terror attempt since no one was injured. They just shot at the bus to make it stop, and then they inspected the passengers and walked away,” said Kiura.

Kiura said a combined team of security officer was currently combing Lango La Simba area and neighboring areas in the hunt for the terror suspects.

Soldier kills 5 women to avenge his wife’s killing

BBC – A soldier in Somalia has avenged the killing of his wife by shooting dead five women related to militant Islamists, an official has said.

He suspected that the women had colluded with the murderers of his wife, who was also a soldier, he added.

Al-Shabab gunmen killed his wife and another female soldier in the small south-western town of Tiyeglow on Tuesday night, the official said.

Al-Shabab is fighting to create an Islamic state in Somalia.

The killing of all seven women has shocked women’s rights groups in Somalia, who have noted that it is extremely rare for so many women to be shot dead, he adds.

Mohamed Abdalla Hassan, a government official in Tiyeglow, said al-Shabab gunmen shot dead the two female soldiers during a hit-and-run raid on Tuesday night.

Government forces then picked up the five women on Wednesday on suspicion of helping the gunmen identify their targets, he said.

As the women were being taken to the police station, the soldier confronted them and shot them dead, Mr Hassan added.

Germany arrests 3 Al – shabab members returning from Kenya

3 German men suspected of being Alshabab members were arrested at the weekend returning from Kenya.The men were arrested at Frankfurt Airport after landing there from Nairobi, according to German Prosecutors.

Meanwhile Kenyan police  are investigating a possible connection between those three men and two Germans suspected of being al-Shabab members who are being held in Nairobi.

The three German men were arrested in Frankfurt on Saturday on charges of membership in a foreign terrorist organization and of preparing an act of violence in connection with their time in Somalia, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office said.

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Kenya on high alert after Alshabab leader confirmed dead

The Kenya government is warning citizens that Al Qaeda-linked Shabab rebels could be planning a wave of retaliatory attacks after it was confirmed their leader was killed earlier this week in a US air strike.

Administration police spokesman Masaud Mwinyi  says security apparatus  are on high alert as security agencies have obtained information indicating the terror group may carry out attacks.

Godane was blamed for playing a major in the Westgate attack that killed 67 people and wounded thousands.