BREAKING NEWS: Tunisia and France Terror Attack

At least 27 people have been killed in an attack on a tourist hotel in the Tunisian resort town of Sousse, according to the interior ministry.

At least one gunman has been shot dead and another is being pursued, officials say.

Sousse is a popular tourist destination.

Tunisia has been on high alert since March when militants killed 22 people, mainly foreign tourists, in an attack on a museum in the capital Tunis.

The interior ministry told the BBC “a terrorist attack” was ongoing.

 

In  a separate attack,

A man has been decapitated and several others injured at a factory in France in what President Francois Hollande has called a terrorist attack.

Two men drove into the Air Products gas factory near Lyon, officials said, before several explosions were heard.

One of the suspects, who was investigated by police in 2006, has been arrested.

The dead man was found with Arabic inscriptions on him and an Islamist flag was found near the site.

At a press conference from Brussels, Mr Hollande confirmed that two attackers had targeted the chemicals factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, crashing into it in a car.

“We have no doubt that the attack was to blow up the building. It bears the hallmarks of a terrorist attack,” he said.

 

BBC

Mandera chief abducted by armed men killed

A Mandera chief who was kidnapped early Thursday morning by heavily armed men has been killed. Arabia chief Muktar Maalim was travelling on a matatu to Mandera town when he was abducted.

A source said that elders from the chief’s clan followed the trail of his abductors and managed to find him at a border town. They pleaded with the assailants to release Maalim. The source who sought anonymity said the assailants tied Maalim to a tree and shot him in front of the clan elders and directed them to take his body.

Unconfirmed reports are that the chief was killed after the clan elders failed to raise a ransom of Sh4 million the suspected al Shabaab gunmen asked for. Efforts to reach Mandera County Commissioner Alex Ole Nkoyo for confirmation were unsuccessful.

Maalim was abducted at a spot which is about five minutes from the Kenya-Somalia borders. Other passengers in the bus he was travelling in were unharmed.

One of the passengers told the Star Newspapr on the phone that the armed men ambushed the vehicle at a junction. “They started firing at us on the first roadblock. The passengers asked the driver to stop the matatu,” he said. The passengers were then separated into three groups of men, women and government officials. The passenger said the attackers checked IDs and job cards of the officials and singled out Maalim.

He said the assailants said they were only interested in government officials. Assistant chief Abdinoor Dakane, who was travelling in another vehicle, jumped out after the assailants started firing and ran away. The abduction took place 10km from the site of last year’s November 22 Mandera bus massacre in which 28 people were killed.

The driver of the matatu said the abductors spoke fluent English and Kiswahili. Mandera county commissioner Alex ole Nkoyo, who convened a meeting to address the issue, said no group has claimed responsibility. This killing comes days after Northeastern politicians toured the area to address insecurity following the killing of 147 people in the April 2 Garissa University College massacre.

-thestarnewspaper

#147isnotjustanumber Uhuru park vigil (photos)

A prayer meeting was held at the freedom corner at the Uhuru park for the victims of the Garissa University attack.

Here is a photo summary of what happened.

1
Images of some of the students who were killed
2
Board with pictures of the slain students
3 survivors
Students who survived the attack came to pay tribute to their departed friends
4
Families, friends and members of the public, put up 147 crosses to represent each of the departed
5
A man lights a candle to represent the life of one of the deceased students
6
Students from Maseno University
7
Graffiti art at the freedom corner
8
Graffiti artist drawing a tribute in honour of the deceased

 

Credits : Boniface Mwangi /KOT 

 

Laughing Somali gunmen taunted victims in university massacre

Piles of bodies and pools of blood running down the corridors: survivors of the Kenya university massacre described how laughing gunmen taunted their victims amid scenes of total carnage.

Salias Omosa, an 20-year-old education student, said the victims were woken up at gunpoint in Thursday’s pre-dawn attack, and Muslims and non-Muslims picked out by “how they were dressed”.

“‘We don’t fear death, this will be a good Easter holiday for us,’ the attackers were shouting in Swahili, then shooting their guns,” Omosa recounted, still trembling with terror and sitting in the refuge of a military camp.

Omosa managed to escape amid the carnage at Garissa University, after seeing two of his friends executed by the Al-Qaeda-linked attackers, who he said were wearing masks and military-style uniforms.

“I have seen many things, but nothing like that,” said Reuben Nyaora, a clinical officer working for the aid agency International Rescue Committee (IRC).

“There were bodies everywhere in execution lines, we saw people whose heads had been blown off, bullet wounds everywhere, it was a grisly mess,” Nyaora told AFP.

Nyaora had rushed with colleagues from his normal work with an IRC ambulance team in the giant Dadaab refugee camp, some 90 kilometres (50 miles) away.

He was one of first frontline medics to enter university halls, providing first aid to both survivors and troops wounded in the heavy fighting.

“We were giving first aid during the fighting – and there were soldiers being shot right in front of us, as well as the casualties among the hostages,” the 32-year old Kenyan told AFP, his voice trembling.

“Then when we went into the halls, it was too horrible, too awful to imagine, and yet we saw it,” he said.

“Everyone seemed dead, but then as we talked, some students who had been hidden for hours came out – some from wardrobes, others from the ceiling, and then others who had lain down with the dead, covered in blood, hidden among their friends who had been killed.”

– Making women ‘swim in blood’ –

He described how he witnessed three women apparently dead, covered head to toe entirely in blood but in fact physically unharmed, pick themselves up from a pile of corpses.

“The ladies said the gunmen had screamed out in Swahili as they shot the men: ‘We have come to be kill and be killed,'” Nyaora said.

“Then they told the women to ‘swim in the blood'”, as though they were making fun of them, playing games and apparently enjoying the killing, he said, before moving on after apparently forgetting to shoot them too.

Amuna Geoffreys, a second year teaching student, was at a Christian prayer meeting when the shooting began, running to hide in a bush. But he could hear the chilling threats of the gunmen talking to colleagues just inside through a window.

As Geoffreys lay in terrified silence, the gunmen inside made his friends call their parents, to blame their imminent deaths on President Uhuru Kenyatta for having Kenyan troops in Somalia fighting the Shebab.

“The killers demanded people to call home and then say: We are dying, because Uhuru has remained defiant to stay in Somalia'”, he said.

“After they called their parents, there were shots, and then silence,” he said.

Photo Credits : AFP

Witnesses recount horror of Kenya university attack

An explosion followed by gunfire woke students at Garissa’s Moi University in Kenya before dawn on Thursday morning.

At around 5:30 am (2:30 GMT) an unknown number of masked gunmen began an assault by tossing explosives at the main gate before storming a nearby girl’s hostel.

More than 800 students attend the university and sleep in dormitories on the sprawling campus on the outskirts of the town in northeast Kenya.

“We were sleeping when we heard a loud explosion that was followed by gunshots and everyone started running for safety,” said student Japhet Mwala.

“There are those who were not able to leave the hostels where the gunmen headed and started firing, I am lucky to be alive because I jumped through the fence with other students,” said Mwala.

Another student, Katherine — who did not want to give her full name — said that when she first heard the explosion and gunfire, “we thought that it was power problems”.

But soon the horror of being caught up in the latest attack by the Al-Qaeda aligned militants from neighbouring Somalia dawned on her.

– We thought warning was April Fool –

“We started running away,” she said. Katherine and other students fled their hostels and ran to nearby fields where they hid as the gunfire continued.

Rosalind Mugambi also fled to the fields with other students and “bullets following us”. She said some of her friends were injured by the gunfire.

“We saw some blood stains and they were shot,” she said.

Garissa, around 150 kilometres (90 miles) from the Somali border, has suffered chronic insecurity for years, fuelled by political and business rivalries, and the conflict in neighbouring Somalia which has driven hundreds of thousands of refugees to live in the nearby Dadaab camps.

Numerous grenade attacks have been blamed on Shebab, but Thursday’s attack was the first time Shebab gunmen have carried out an armed assault in the town. After moving into the university the attackers separated some students according to religion, allowing the Muslims to leave and taking an unknown number of Christians hostage.

Students said that notices had been posted around the campus warning that an attack was possible.

“There were reports of an attack the whole week and even the university administration was informed,” said Nicholas Mutuku.

“But it is like everyone didn’t take it seriously, because it was not the first time such reports were emerging.”

Some who saw the warning notices a day ahead of the attack thought they were an April Fool’s prank.

“Yesterday there were those notices, but as it was April 1, we just thought that it was fooling,” said Katherine.

Photo Credits : AFP

Gunmen attack Varsity in Garissa town

Gunmen have stormed into a university in Garissa Town.

Gunshots and explosions are being heard from the compound.

Witnesses say the gunmen stormed in at  5am as most students were going  for morning prayers.

Those calling from inside the university say there are many casualties.

Police, the military and the Kenya Defence Forces on the ground to help the hostages and get the attackers.

It is however unclear what the motive of the attack is and who is responsible for it.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and Inspector General of police Joseph Boinnet have flown to Garissa to help in coordinating the operation of rescuing those trapped in the college by gunmen.

Officials said the officials had been ordered to go there to help in containing the situation. By 9 am, two people had been confirmed dead and 32 wounded.

Boinnet confirmed the attack and said efforts to restore the situation were ongoing.

Two women raped in Bungoma church

Two women were raped and  a man injured when a group of armed youth attacked a church during night prayers.

The members of Word of Grace Churchin Bukembe were  attacked on Saturday night.

The worshippers raised the alarm and attracting the area residents who arrested two members of the gang.

The attackers were saved by police, who later took them to Bungoma Refferal hospital under police guard.

The two are said to be charged once they are out of the hospital.

Bungoma county commisioner Mohammed Maalim urged church leaders to make security arrangements during night worship.

 

Nigeria calls for support after ‘deadliest’ Boko Haram attack

Nigeria’s military has called for support in tackling Boko Haram after a major attack on a key northeast town that is feared could be the worst in the bloody six-year insurgency.

There are still no independently corroborated figures for the huge numbers said to have been killed in Baga, on the shores of Lake Chad in the far north of Borno State.

But defence spokesman Chris Olukolade said in a statement issued late Saturday that the description of the assault as “the deadliest” was “quite valid”.

“The attack on the town by the bloodhounds and their activities since January 3rd, 2015 should convince well-meaning people all over the world that Boko Haram is the evil all must collaborate to end, rather than vilifying those working to check them,” he said.

Nigeria’s military — West Africa’s largest — has faced repeated criticism for failing to end the six-year Islamist insurgency, as well as allegations of human rights abuses.

Soldiers have complained of a lack of adequate weapons and even refused to deploy to take on the better-armed rebels, who want to create a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria.

With elections set for next month, Nigeria’s government has also been accused of playing politics with the insurgency, as most of the areas worst affected by the violence are main opposition strongholds.

But Olukolade said: “The Nigerian military has not given up on Baga and other localities where terrorist activities are now prevalent.

“Appropriate plans, men and resources are presently being mobilised to address the situation,” he said on defenceinfo.mil.ng, in the military’s first detailed comment on last weekend’s attack.

The military and government often makes such statements, without giving specific details, yet there are reports of attacks on an almost daily basis.

On Saturday, two explosions rocked northeast Nigeria, including one by a suicide bomber at a crowded market in the Borno State capital, Maiduguri, by a young girl thought to be just 10. Nineteen people were killed.

Photo Credits : AFP

MRC responsible for coastal attack

The government has linked the Outlawed MRC to the attack at Administration Police base where a Police officer was killed and two of his colleagues seriously injured in Kaloleni .

Kilifi county commission Albert Kobia said Militants raided the station on Thursday night killing a police constable who was in charge of the Kaloleni police station.

“Militia attacked Kimarani Administration police camp in Mwamwinga area of Kaloleni, killing the corporal in charge and injuring two others officers critically,” Kobia said.

He said that the attackers were in possession of Machetes and welding weapons that were meant for kill.

“The attackers were able to make way with two G3 rifle loaded with 19 rounds of ammunition that were kept in the station. Taking advantage of the heavy downpour in the region,” he said.

“We think the Mombasa Republican Council are responsible for the actions,” he said.

Residents residing nearby the police post escaped from their homes in fear and spent the night in bushes after hearing gunshots but could not establish whether the shots were made by the officers or the attackers.

The MRC is a separate group that wants the coast to govern itself, citing decades of neglect by the government in Kenya.

The secretary of the separate group Randi Nzai, has refuted the claim that it was them who are responsible for the attacks at the coastal region in the country.

“I am not aware of the attacks that have taken place today and as usual the government is using us, as a scapegoat once again,” he said.

This comes after the same incident happened last month, when armed men suspected to be Militants attacked Nyali barracks in Mombasa, hacking a soldier to death.

The suspects are believed to have been recruited, trained and ferried to raid and seize weapons.

The same gang last month had also attempted to over run an AP camp in Malindi, but were overpowered before they destroyed human life.

– The Star

NIS says that the police knew of impending terror attack

The National Intelligence Service informed the police and the Kenya Defence Forces in Mandera and Nairobi about an imminent terror attack by al Shabaab but did not act.

According to an intelligence officer based in Mandera, the security agencies were informed that at least 15 heavily armed insurgent had crossed into the country using three pickups mid November.

The officer who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals from his seniors said the police were also told of an active terror cell in Omar Jilaow area near Arabia village between Mandera town and Elwak, the spot where 28 Kenyans were brutally murdered on Saturday morning.

He said the terrorists are believed to have come from Gedo,Somalia, a region bordering Kenya at the northern tip of Mandera county. This region is often known as “no man’s land” as people move goods in and out of both countries freely.

Vehicles carrying contraband sugar and other assorted illegal goods ply this area with some dangerous fighters and caches of weapons finding their way into the country.

Abdulaziz Mohamed, a Mandera resident who described himself as an independent journalist also claimed he saw more than six cars “with dozen weapons on them, and over 30 men” crossing into Kenyan on November 10.

The intelligence officer told the Star that they had intelligence reports that the newly-crowned al-Shabaab leader Ahmad Umar Abu Ubbaidah had convened a meeting of heavily-trained members in Luq, southwestern Gedo, where they identified a “soft target” in Kenya.

Mandera Governor Ali Roba also said he had shared intelligence information with the government of the existence of terror cells but it was ignored.

“The government constantly downplayed the situation,” he said.

Source: The Star

 

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.