Recce plane carried police airwing boss’ daughter in law as Garissa Massacre unfolded

Photos have emerged on Instagram of young girls on the police airplane that should have flown Recce officers to deal with the Garissa attack. The Instagram photos were on the account of Ndanu Munene Mbithi, said to be the daughter of Kenya Police Airwing Commandant Rogers Mbithi.

The photos show Ndanu posing with another girl on two occasions, one marked 10 weeks ago and one 62 weeks ago. Both photos are captioned, “Mombasa ni raha tu” ( Mombasa is just bliss). A third photo of a girl inside the plane is dated 27 weeks ago and captioned, “Hi Mombasa. #birthdayweekend.”

The Instagram account also linked to Twitter and Facebook accounts under the name of Ndanu Mbithi were deactivated Monday when the photos became public. Outraged Kenyans online questioned the abuse of the plane and why the accounts had been deactivated.

Over the weekend, it emerged that the Cessna plane which could have ferried the Recce unit to the Garissa Univeristy was unavailable as it had flown to Mombasa on a private trip without the authorisation of the Inspector General of Police.

IG Joseph Boinet has confirmed receiving a report confirming that the plane was not available as it had flown some private individuals to Mombasa. The Kenya Police Air Wing aircraft left Wilson Airport on April 2 at 7.30am on Thursday, two hours after al Shabaab attacked Garissa University, and arrived at the Mombasa airport at 9.30am.

The plane had reportedly been hired out by senior police officers to a Nairobi businessman and was also under instructions from Mbithi to pick up his daughter-in-law and her child. Police aircraft should not be deployed on private business, except in emergencies and with authorisation from the IG..

According to the plane’s authorisation sheet, it left Mombasa at 9.35am, arrived at Wilson at 11.35am, and then left for Garissa at 12.30pm with one team of Recce Unit officers. Another team of Recce officers left Wilson airport seven minutes earlier on a different aircraft to go to Garissa University College.

The plane landed at Garissa at 1.55pm and 10 minutes later returned to Nairobi. It arrived at 3.30pm before going back to Garissa 15 minutes later. The plane spent the night in Garissa, left at 10.40am on Good Friday and landed at Wilson Airport at noon. There has been outrage at the slow pace with which the Recce officers were deployed to Garissa.

The Recce team was on standby from 6am but only arrived at the university in the afternoon when they took around 15 minutes to end the siege. There have been questions on why Recce was not authorised to go in earlier to deal with the attack that left 147 people, mostly students, dead.

Source: The Star Newspaper

Kenya freezes bank accounts with suspected terrorism links

Kenya has suspended a series of bank accounts suspected to be connected to financing terrorism, days after the university massacre of almost 150 people by Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab, the treasury said.

“Actions taken are consistent with the international law on financing terrorism…. we produced a list of persons and entities who may have been involved in facilitating terrorism activities,” said top treasury official Kamau Thugge.

Photo Credits : AFP

Not Forgotten Memorial Website Set Up

A memorial website to commemorate Kenyans who have lost their lives in terror attacks has been set up. Activists led by Boniface Mwangi say you can log on to www.notforgoten.co.ke and post names of loved ones.

Speaking about the website, human rights activist Boniface Mwangi said, “The idea is to have as many profiles of the about 2000 we have lost in those 50 attacks, to remember them, to remember what made them happy, to remember who their families were, what their families remember about them so if you can if you know anyone kindly just look for the website. Let us not allow ourselves to dehumanise these people as statistics.”

Kenyans held a vigil Tuesday night at Uhuru Park grounds to commemorate the lives lost in last weeks terror attack on the Garissa University.

Here is a screenshot of the website

Screenshot from 2015-04-08 09:28:57

Kenyans hold march for national security after massacre

Kenyans prepared to march for greater national security Tuesday following last week’s massacre by Somalia’s Shebab Islamists, ahead of a candlelit vigil on the final day of mourning for the 148 people killed by the militants.

Kenyan fighter jets pounded camps belonging to the Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents in southern Somalia on Monday, but anger has been growing over allegations that critical intelligence warnings were missed.

Special forces units took seven hours to reach the university in Garissa last Thursday, some 365 kilometres (225 miles) from the capital, as Shebab gunmen stormed dormitory buildings before lining up non-Muslim students for execution in what President Uhuru Kenyatta described as a “barbaric medieval slaughter”.

The massacre, Kenya’s deadliest attack since the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi, claimed the lives of 142 students, three police officers and three soldiers.

Tuesday’s demonstration was due to begin at 10:00 am (0700 GMT) in Nairobi as security forces continued their hunt for those behind the university killings, with the vigil planned for later in the afternoon on the third and final day of national mourning.

The army said Monday’s airstrikes destroyed two Islamist bases, and followed a promise by Kenyatta that he would retaliate “in the severest way possible” against the Shebab militants for their attack last Thursday.

“We bombed two Shebab camps in the Gedo region,” Kenyan army spokesman David Obonyo told AFP, without giving details about any possible casualties in the lawless Somali area bordering Kenya.

– Battle against Shebab –

Kenyan airplanes have made repeated strikes in southern Somalia since sending troops into their war-torn neighbour in 2011 to attack Shebab bases, with Nairobi later joining the African Union force fighting the Islamists.

“The bombings are part of the continued process and engagement against Al-Shebab, which will go on,” Obonyo added.

The Shebab fled their power base in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu in 2011, and continue to battle the AU force, AMISOM, sent to drive them out. It includes troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

The Shebab group has carried out a string of revenge attacks in neighbouring countries, notably Kenya and Uganda, in response to their participation in the AU force.

On Saturday, Shebab warned of “another bloodbath” unless Kenya withdraws its troops from Somalia, and threatened a “long, gruesome war”.

Shebab fighters also carried out the Westgate shopping mall attack in Nairobi in September 2013, a four-day siege which left at least 67 people dead.

Five men have been arrested in connection with the university attack, including three alleged “coordinators” captured as they fled towards Somalia, and two others seized in the university compound.

The two arrested on campus included a security guard and a Tanzanian found “hiding in the ceiling” and holding grenades, the interior ministry said.

A $215,000 (200,000 euro) bounty has also been offered for alleged Shebab commander Mohamed Mohamud, a former Kenyan teacher said to be the mastermind behind the attack and believed to now be in Somalia.

– Abattoir-like stench –

Authorities on Sunday named one of the four gunmen killed as a fellow Kenyan, highlighting the Shebab’s ability to recruit within the country.

Interior ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka said high-flying Abdirahim Abdullahi, an ethnic Somali, was a university law graduate described by those who knew him as an A-grade student and “a brilliant upcoming lawyer”.

The spokesman said Abdullahi’s father, a local official in the northeastern county of Mandera, had “reported to the authorities that his son had gone missing and suspected the boy had gone to Somalia”.

Forensic investigators aided by foreign experts have continued to scour the site, where an AFP reporter on Monday was among the first journalists to enter since the attack, describing bullet-scarred buildings, blood stains on the floors, and an abattoir-like stench across the campus.

Although Kenyatta has vowed to retaliate for the massacre, there have also been calls for national unity.

In an address to the nation on Saturday, Kenyatta said people’s “justified anger” should not lead to “the victimisation of anyone” — a clear reference to Kenya’s large Muslim and Somali minorities in a country where 80 percent of the population is Christian.

Photo Credits : AFP

KDF jets bombs two al Shabaab bases in Somalia after Garissa attack

The Kenyan air force bombed two al Shabaab camps in Somalia on Sunday, in the first major military response to last week’s attack by the militant group on a Kenyan university.

Kenya Defence Forces spokesman David Obonyo confirmed the attacks but did not give more details.

A military source told Reuters that jets pounded the camps in Gondodowe and Ismail, both in the Gedo region bordering Kenya.

Cloud cover made it difficult to establish how much damage the bombings caused or estimate the death toll.

“We targeted the two areas because according to information we have, those (al Shabaab) fellows are coming from there to attack Kenya,” he said, in reference to Thursday’s massacre at Garissa University College, some 200km (120 miles) from the Somali border.

-thestar.co.ke

Four terror suspects arrested in Nyali and their vehicle detained

Anti-Terrorism Police Unite Officers have arrested four suspects among them a woman and detained their vehicle at City Mall Nakumatt in Nyali, Mombasa County.

Mombasa County Police Boss Robert Kitur says the four, two Arabs and two Africans, had been trailed by detectives for almost a week and are being interrogated by officers.

Details of their vehicle had been circulated last week.

This news comes in when Kenya is still mourning the victims of terrorism after a terror attack rocked Garissa town Thursday leaving 147 people dead and over 80 injured.

Photo courtesy Instagram

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Somalia calls for closer security ties after ‘barbaric’ Kenya massacre

Somalia and Kenya must boost security cooperation between them, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said Friday, as he offered his condolences a day after “barbaric” Islamist gunmen massacred 147 students.

Mohamud said he mourned the “lives of innocent students” killed in the university in the northeastern Kenyan town of Garissa, offering his “condolences to the families of those who have died in this attack by the merciless terrorists.”

Masked gunmen from Somalia’s Shebab Islamist group killed the Kenyan students Thursday in a day-long college campus siege, the country’s deadliest attack since the 1998 US embassy bombings.

All four of the gunmen wore suicide vests packed with explosives, detonating themselves in huge blasts as the dramatic assault finally ended after some 16 hours.

Hurling grenades and firing automatic rifles, the gunmen had stormed the university in the northeastern town of Garissa at dawn as students were sleeping, shooting dead dozens before setting Muslims free and holding Christians and others hostage.

The government said at least 79 people were wounded in the assault near the lawless border with war-torn Somalia, several seriously, and there are fears the death toll may still rise.

In the final hour before darkness fell, Kenyan troops stormed a student dormitory where the gunmen were holed up as blasts and fierce gunfire rang out.

Interior Minister Joseph Nkaiserry said the four died detonating their suicide vests as soldiers burst in shooting, with Western security sources reporting that several soldiers and hostages may have died in the final blasts.

Troops then continued to search the campus for any possible insurgents until the siege was declared over late on Thursday, with the national disaster operations centre saying it had “ended with all four terrorists killed.”

The attack was claimed by Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab fighters, the same insurgents who carried out the Westgate shopping mall massacre in Nairobi in September 2013, when four gunmen killed at least 67 people in a four-day siege.

Shebab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage told AFP the gunmen had taken non-Muslims hostage, and that their mission had been “to kill those who are against the Shebab.”

– Senseless and barbaric –

The university siege marks the worst attack on Kenyan soil since the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi by Al-Qaeda, when 213 people were killed by a huge truck bomb.

The United States condemned Thursday’s attack in the “strongest terms”, while UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for those responsible to “be swiftly brought to justice.”

British Minister for Africa James Duddridge called the killings “senseless” and “barbaric”, while the French presidency said it stood “ready to work” with Kenya in its fight against terrorism.

It was not clear if any of the students the Shebab said they had held were alive at the time of the final assault by troops. However, officials said over 500 students had been rescued from the fighting.

“Kenya is at war with Somalia,” Rage said, referring to the thousands of Kenyan troops in Somalia as part of an African Union military mission.

Soldiers with tanks were deployed around the campus.

A $215,000 (200,000 euro) bounty was offered for the capture of alleged Shebab commander Mohamed Mohamud, a former Kenyan teacher believed to now be in Somalia and said to be the mastermind behind the Garissa attack.

The garrison town is around 150 kilometres (90 miles) west of Somalia and has been targeted in the past by militants from the Shebab.

– ‘Gunmen shot indiscriminately’ –

Police chief Joseph Boinet said “the gunmen shot indiscriminately” after storming the compound.

The sprawling campus on the outskirts of town has both teaching areas as well as residential blocks.

The university has several hundred students from different parts of Kenya, and the first bodies of some of those killed were flown to Nairobi late Thursday for families to collect on Friday, the start of the Easter weekend, a major holiday in the country.

A dawn until dusk curfew has been imposed on several northern and eastern Kenyan districts for two weeks.

Kenya has been hit by a wave of grenade and gun attacks, often blamed on sympathisers of the Shebab and sometimes aimed at police targets, since the army crossed into southern Somalia in 2011 to attack Islamist bases.

A series of foreign travel warnings in response to the threat have crippled Kenya’s economically important tourism industry.

On Wednesday, just hours before the Garissa attack began, President Uhuru Kenyatta said Kenya “is as safe as any country in the world.”

He also ordered the “urgent” enrolment of a planned 10,000 police recruit boost, warning Kenya had “suffered unnecessarily due to shortage of security personnel.”

Kenya’s government has been under fire since the Westgate attack. In June and July last year Shebab gunmen killed close to 100 people in a series of attacks on the town of Mpeketoni and nearby villages.

In November, the Shebab claimed responsibility for holding up a bus outside Mandera town, separating passengers according to religion and murdering 28 non-Muslims. Ten days later 36 non-Muslim quarry workers were also massacred in the area.

Photo Credits : AFP

Kenya ‘will not be intimidated’ by terrorists

Kenya’s interior minister on Friday vowed that the country would not bow to terrorist threats, a day after the massacre of 147 students by Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab fighters.

“Kenya’s government will not be intimidated by the terrorists who have made killing innocent people a way to humiliate the government,” Joseph Nkaissery told reporters, speaking in front of the university campus in the northeastern town of Garissa.

“The government is determined to fight back the terrorists, and I am confident we shall win this war against our enemies.”

Somalia’s Shebab fighters carried out the attack, with all four of the gunmen detonating suicide vests after killing 147 people in the day-long seige.

Bodies still lay around the campus on Friday, as teams worked to collect all those killed, while troops checked the campus was safe after the day long battle.

“Our security officers are mopping up the college, to ensure it is safe to for students to come back to secure their documents and other property,” Nkaissery said, adding that the college had “closed indefinitely.”

Hundreds of students — many of whom escaped with little more than the clothes they were sleeping in when the gunmen attacked just before dawn — spent Thursday night at nearby military barracks, where they were fed and given clothes by the community in Garissa.

Several buses were due to transport the traumatised students back to their home areas, while the bodies of those killed were being flown back to the capital Nairobi.

A huge crowd of shocked survivors and relatives of some of those killed gathered at the gates of the university in Kenya’s northeastern town of Garissa, and AFP reporter at the scene said.

Dozens of family members also gathered Friday at the main Nairobi mortuary to identify their relatives.

The university siege marks the worst attack on Kenyan soil since the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi by Al-Qaeda, when 213 people were killed by a huge truck bomb.

The Shebab also carried out the Westgate shopping mall massacre in Nairobi in September 2013 when four gunmen killed at least 67 people in a four-day siege.

Photo Credits : AFP

President Uhuru orders training of 10,000 police recruits

Following the terror attacked that rocked the nation Thursday killing 147 people in Garissa, President Uhuru has ordered immediate enrolment of 10,000 police recruits.

Addressing the insecurity issue in the country, President Uhuru blamed shortage of security personnel on the rising cases of insecurity in the country.

The president nullified the court ruling that had blocked last year’s corruption marred recruitment and ordered immediate recruitment of the 10,000 officers.

In his statement Uhuru said, “I further direct the Inspector-General of Police to take urgent steps and ensure that the 10,000 recruits whose enrolment is pending, promptly report for training at the Kenya Police College, Kiganjo. I take full responsibility for this directive. We have suffered unnecessarily due to shortage of security personnel. Kenya badly needs additional officers, and I will not keep the nation waiting.”