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

Somali pirates release Thai hostages held for 4 years

Four Thai fishermen held hostage by Somali pirates for nearly four years have been released, local officials said Friday.

“We collected the four Thailand men from a remote area,” said Omar Sheikh Ali, an official in Somalia’s central Galmudug administration.

The four fishermen were among 24 crew members seized in April 2010 when Somali pirates hijacked the Taiwan-flagged fishing vessel FV Prantalay 12.

Their nearly four-year captivity is one of the longest suffered by any victims of Somali piracy.

Ali said the relieved men were able to contact family members soon after their release on Wednesday.

“They called their families by phone and cried and cried and cried,” he said.

Residents of Galkayo, where the Galmudug administration is based, said a $150,000 ransom was paid but the information could not be independently verified.

After its capture the FV Prantalay was used as a pirate mother ship to launch attacks far out to sea before it capsized in July 2011 and the crew was taken ashore.

Of the original 24 crew members, six died from sickness at various stages during their captivity.

Another 14 crew from Myanmar were released to the government in the Somalia’s northern Puntland region in May 2011 and repatriated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Hostage Support Programme.

A further 26 hostages are still being held by Somali pirates.

Piracy off the coast of Somalia reached its height in 2011 when there were 237 incidents attributed to Somali pirates and 28 vessels hijacked.

But a combination of armed onboard guards and international naval patrols have had a big impact and last year there were no successful hijackings, according to the International Maritime Bureau which tracks piracy incidents worldwide.

Photo Credits : AFP

Kalonzo cautions against targeting Somalis in war on terror

Wiper Democratic Movement leader Kalonzo Musyoka has today cautioned against ethnic profiling in the fight against terror. Kalonzo said Kenyans of Somali origin have been on the receiving end during the terror operations adding that the menace has crossed to all ethnic communities in the country.

“We should not profile people as per their ethnic background but rather widen our scope across the country and beyond,” Kalonzo said.

“Extremist is a global problem not confined in Kenya so we should not look at our Muslim brothers and sister as terrorists,” Kalonzo added

Commenting on elections, the Wiper leader said the IEBC has no moral ground to independently oversee the coming elections and thus the commissioners should resign.

He said some commissioners have been found guilty of corruption in London court and the honorable measure for the commissioners is to quit.

Kalonzo said the Commissions image has been tainted across the globe and thus they cannot preside over fair and free elections in 2017.

The Wiper Leader made the remarks at Ansaaru Primary School in Eastleigh during the ceremony to award best performers of 2014 KCPE.

On matters politics, Kalonzo urged Eastleigh residents to come out in large numbers to push the OKOA Kenya initiative which is meant to increase resources to the counties.

Over 38,000 Somali children facing starvation: UN

Over 38,000 Somali children are at “high risk” from dying from starvation despite hunger levels improving by almost a third across the war-torn nation, UN experts said Thursday.
The grim assessment, based on the latest data collected by the UN, comes just over three years since intense drought and war sparked famine in the Horn of Africa nation, killing more than a quarter of a million people.

In total, over 731,000 people, including 203,000 children who are severely malnourished, face “acute food insecurity”, according to a joint report released by the UN’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and the US-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network(FEWS NET).

But the total number affected is a drop of 29 percent from last assessments covering the past six months, with “relatively good rains” in late 2014 helping farmers.

“Many children remain acutely malnourished, despite a small decrease in their numbers over the past six months,” the statement read. “An estimated 202,600 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished, including 38,200 who are severely malnourished and face a high risk of morbidity and death.”

Three-quarters of those in dire need are those who have fled their homes, mainly due to continued fighting.”Malnutrition rates remain stubbornly high,” UN aid chief for Somalia Philippe Lazzarini said. “The outlook for 2015 is worrisome.”

Fighting continues between Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab rebels and government and allied forces, backed by more than 20,000-strong African Union force.

 

Somalia most corrupt country of 2014

Corruption is a problem for all economies, requiring leading financial centres in the EU and US to act together with fast-growing economies to stop the corrupt from getting away with it, anti-corruption group Transparency International said today.

“The 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index shows that economic growth is undermined and efforts to stop corruption fade when leaders and high level officials abuse power to appropriate public funds for personal gain,” said José Ugaz, the chair of Transparency International.

More than two thirds of the 175 countries in the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index score below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean). Denmark comes out on top in 2014 with a score of 92 while North Korea and Somalia share last place, scoring just eight.

10 Most Corrupt Countries in the World

Somalia (score 8)
North Korea (score 8)
Sudan (score 11)
Afghanistan (score 12)
South Sudan (score 15)
Iraq (score 16)
Turkmenistan (score 17)
Uzbekistan (score 18)
Libya (score 18)
Eritrea (score 18)

10 Least Corrupt Countries in the World

Denmark (score 92)
New Zealand (score 91)
Finland (score 89)
Sweden (score 87)
Norway (score 86)
Switzerland (score 86)
Singapore (score 84)
Netherlands (score 83)
Luxembourg (score 82)
Canada (score 81)

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