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.



Several killed in Somalia airstrike

Several people are believed to have been killed in an airstrike in southern Somalia apparently targetting a house used by members of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab militia, officials and witnesses said Sunday.

A Shebab source confirmed a missile hit the Islamist-held stronghold of Dinsoor, 270 kilometres (170 miles) west of the capital Mogadishu, late Saturday, but declined to give details on who was targeted and how many casualties there were from the attack.

Abdukadir Mohamed Nur, a Somali government official in the lower Shabele region, said several Shebab militants died.

“Many Al-Shebab militants were killed in the airstrike,” he said, without giving details on who was targeted and which country carried out the attack.

A resident in Dinsoor, Ali Yare, told AFP by telephone that four civilians may have been wounded or killed in the attack.

“We heard a very loud explosion and a few minutes later I saw cars rushing to the scene, some of them returned with casualties. Four civilians were among the casualties,” he said. “We don’t know who was the target because the area was sealed off.”

In September last year the Shebab’s leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was killed in a US airstrike, and Washington carried out another strike in December, killing who Somali officials said was a top Shebab intelligence official.

The United States has no permanently deployed ground force in Somalia but supports the government and sometimes deploys air power or special forces against targets linked to Al-Qaeda.

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.

Mombasa court acquits British terror suspect

A Kenyan court acquitted a suspected British Islamist militant of nine charges Wednesday but the key charge of terrorism for which he is on trial remains, a magistrate said.

Suspected radical Jermaine Grant, accused of plotting bomb attacks and having ties to Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab, was arrested in December 2011 in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa with chemicals, batteries and switches.

Magistrate Anastacia Ndungu told a Mombasa court that he must be acquitted of nine charges, including trying to falsely register as a Kenyan citizen.

“A conviction cannot be founded on mere suspicion however strong,” she said.

Grant is believed to have become radicalised as a teenager in the same British prison where “shoe bomber” Richard Reid first turned to Islam.

Reid, who claimed he was an Al-Qaeda recruit, is serving a life sentence in the United States for trying to blow up a flight from Paris to Miami in December 2001.

Grant pleaded guilty in December 2011 to charges of being in the country illegally and lying about his nationality, for which he was sentenced to two jail terms of two years, to run concurrently.

The trial continues.

Prosecutors have accused Grant, a Muslim convert, of working with fellow Briton Samantha Lewthwaite, dubbed the “White Widow”.

Lewthwaite is the widow of British suicide bomber Germaine Lindsay who blew himself up on a London Underground train on July 7, 2005, killing 26 people. Her whereabouts are unknown.

Photo Credits : AFP

Chad votes to send troops to Cameroon, Nigeria to fight Boko Haram

Chad’s parliament voted Friday to send armed forces to Cameroon and Nigeria to fight Boko Haram a day after President Idriss Deby Itno announced his intention to join the fight against the Islamists. A convoy roared out of the city after Chad’s parliament voted to send armed forces to Cameroon and Nigeria to fight against the Islamists.

Cameroon’s President Paul Biya had announced Thursday that Chad President Idriss Deby had decided to send “a substantial contingent” of troops to help Cameroonian armed forces who have faced repeated attacks from Boko Haram.

A source close to the army said the force had begun preparing for departure on Thursday.

Earlier on Friday, Chad’s parliament in N’Djamena voted 150 to 0 to send an unspecified number of “Chadian armed troops and security forces to assist Cameroonian and Nigerian soldiers waging war against the terrorists in Cameroon and Nigeria”.

Boko Haram is fighting to create a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria along the border with Chad, Cameroon and Niger.


Six dead in Kenya as troops battle Somali gunmen: army

One Kenyan soldier and five suspected Islamists insurgents loyal to Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab fighters were killed in a battle in Kenya’s coastal Lamu district on Wednesday, the army said.

Kenyan troops, part of the UN-backed African Union force in Somalia fighting the Islamists, were travelling northwards close to the Somali border when they were attacked.

“A firefight ensued and five suspected Al-Shebab militants were killed,” army spokesman David Obonyo said in a statement, adding that one Kenyan soldier was killed and three others wounded.

“Some militants escaped with multiple injuries, and immediately an operation was launched in pursuit.”

Kenyan troops entered southern Somalia in 2011 to fight the Shebab rebels, later joining the AU force.

The Shebab are fighting to overthrow Somalia’s internationally-backed government, but have also carried out a string of revenge attacks in neighbouring Kenya.

Kenya’s government has been under fire since Shebab gunmen attacked the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi in September 2013, in which at least 67 people were killed.

In December the Shebab executed 36 non-Muslim quarry workers in a Kenyan border town, following an attack in November when they killed 28 passengers on board a bus.

Wedmesday’s attack took place on the mainland in Lamu country near Basuba, over 60 kilometres (40 miles) north of Lamu island, a UNESCO World Heritage site dependent on tourism for its economy, that has been badly hit with visitors scared off by a string of attacks.

Photo Credits : AFP

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.

Uhuru signs Security Law, urges public support to protect country

President Uhuru Kenyatta has assented the contentious Security Bill into law and urged Kenyans to familiarise themselves with it in order to establish their roles in securing the nation.

At the signing at State House, Nairobi on Friday afternoon, Uhuru thanked the National Assembly for expediting its reading.

He guaranteed that the law, which was passed by Parliament amid chaos on Thursday, will not infringe on the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

Uhuru dismissed the opposition’s objections to it saying that enough consultation and public participation took place before the Bill was presented to Parliament.

He said the law will enable security organs to pre-empt terror attacks as they will be more equipped and better structured to deal with the challenges.

Makaburi ally arrested, police say he has taken over youth radicalisation

A close ally of slain Sheikh Sharif Abubakar alias Makaburi was on Saturday evening arrested by security agents in a joint counter terrorism operation over the recruitment of youths into al Shabaab using the Masjid Musa mosque.

Police have accused Mohammed Ali Abdallah of being the new kingpin behind the radicalization of Muslim youths in the Coastal region, succeeding Makaburi in inspiring youths to fight against non-Muslims and security organs.

Urban police station CID officer Edward Ronoh said Ali was arrested in his Majengo home after a tip-off from members of the public.

He said Ali was found with 15 DVDs believed to contain terrorism literature, a spy pen and a tape recorder allegedly stolen from an intelligence officer praying at Masjid Musa.


Several youth arrested in Mombasa Swafaa mosque after forcing their way in for prayers

Tension is high in Kisauni area ahead of Friday prayers after police raided Masjid Swafaa mosque Thursday night and arrested several youth.

The youth had forced their way into the mosque which is one of three that had been closed to facilitate investigations over allegations of radicalisation.

Mombasa county commander Robert Kitur confirmed the incident and said police had to fire in the air and lob tear gas canisters at the youth who engaged them.

Kitur said the four mosques, Swafaa, Minah, Sakina and Shuhaada in which police have conducted operations will remain closed.

Kitur added that worshipers are advised to seek alternative places to hold their prayers until police clear the four mosques.


Kenya marks one year since Westgate mall attack

Kenya is marking one year since four gunmen stormed the upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi, killing 67 people.

A memorial plaque with names of the victims was unveiled on Sunday at a forest on the edge of the city where people hike. A candlelight vigil was set for Sunday evening at the National Museum.

On Sunday, police increased their presence in public places such as churches, supermarkets and malls.

Police chief David Kimaiyo asked residents to be “extra vigilant” of attacks in the coming week. Kimaiyo said police had doubled patrols.

Al-Shabab militants from Somalia claimed responsibility for the mall attack saying it was retribution for Kenya’s troop presence in Somalia.

More recently, al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab vowed to avenge the death of their leader killed in a U.S. airstrike earlier this month.

Police gun down terror suspect in Bondeni, Mombasa

Police in Mombasa have gunned down a terror suspect in Bondeni area.

County Commander Robert Kitur said officers raided a house on Sunday morning where the suspect was killed. His accomplice however managed to escape.

Kitur says the suspect had been linked to the recent murder of two tourists in the coastal town.

Police also found a hand grenade at the house.

Police believe the slain man and his accomplice are connected to the Al shabab militant group and were plotting to commit acts of terror within Kenya.

Australia Elevates Terrorism Threat Level to high

The Australian government on Friday elevated its terrorism threat level to the second-highest warning in response to the domestic threat posed by Islamic State movement supporters.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the increase from “medium” to “high” on a four-tier scale on the advice of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization.

The domestic spy agency’s Director-General David Irvine warned this week that the terrorist threat level had been rising in Australia over the past year, due in part to Australians joining Islamic State to fight in Syria and Iraq.

“I want to stress that this does not mean that a terror attack is imminent,” Abbott told reporters. “We have no specific intelligence of particular plots.”

“What we do have is intelligence that there are people with the intent and the capability to mount attacks.”

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Police kill 2 terror suspects in Mombasa

                                          A hand grenade that was recovered in Kisauni’s Mshomoroni recently. Photo courtesy of The Star

Police in Mombasa last night gunned down two terror suspects and recovered a hand grenade and a pistol from them.

Mombasa County Commander Robert Kitur says the two are believed to have been planning a terror attack when they were confronted by police while riding in a matatu.

One of the suspects was shot as he tried to a hull a grenade at the officers. Anti terror police officers safely removed the grenade from the scene.

Police believe the two were part of a gang behind a series of recent gun attacks in the coastal city.