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October 5, 2013
“My assessment has always been that the day that al-Shabab lets go of the ‘Cult of the Suicide Bomber,’ we will be in world of trouble. It’s far more complicated to procure the parts for an explosive vest, as well as to find people willing to be martyrs. I always worried that if you just get guys riding in with AK-47s and grenades, they could do incredible damage. We have now reached that dangerous place.” — Matt Bryden, the former coordinator of the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, on dangerous precedent the Westgate Mall Attack sets.
Above: Umayr, one of the four men said to be responsible for the attack. He allegedly belongs to al-Hijra, an offshoot of al-Shabab in Kenya. The attackers are alleged to have been trained by al-Qaeda operatives.

“My assessment has always been that the day that al-Shabab lets go of the ‘Cult of the Suicide Bomber,’ we will be in world of trouble. It’s far more complicated to procure the parts for an explosive vest, as well as to find people willing to be martyrs. I always worried that if you just get guys riding in with AK-47s and grenades, they could do incredible damage. We have now reached that dangerous place.”  Matt Bryden, the former coordinator of the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, on dangerous precedent the Westgate Mall Attack sets.

Above: Umayr, one of the four men said to be responsible for the attack. He allegedly belongs to al-Hijra, an offshoot of al-Shabab in Kenya. The attackers are alleged to have been trained by al-Qaeda operatives.

18:01 // 11 months ago
September 28, 2013
The Westgate Mall, taken over by a terror attack last week, is severely damaged—especially its parking garage, where scenes like the above were common. The Associated Press has a harrowing tale of how one of its reporters, correspondent Jason Straziuso, went on a hunt for his car, which was in the mall at the time of the attack. On the plus side, his was safe, missing massive damage by just 15 feet. On the downside, many other cars were not. (photo by Ben Curtis/Associated Press)

The Westgate Mall, taken over by a terror attack last week, is severely damaged—especially its parking garage, where scenes like the above were common. The Associated Press has a harrowing tale of how one of its reporters, correspondent Jason Straziuso, went on a hunt for his car, which was in the mall at the time of the attack. On the plus side, his was safe, missing massive damage by just 15 feet. On the downside, many other cars were not. (photo by Ben Curtis/Associated Press)

11:56 // 11 months ago
September 26, 2013
Interpol alert goes out for Samantha Lewthwaite: While it’s not clear if the British expat really did play a role in the Nairobi mall attacks, that hasn’t stopped the international police organization from issuing a “red alert” for the so-called “White Widow,” who gained notoriety after her husband, Germaine Lindsay, was involved in the 2005 London subway bombings. Lewthwaite, who is believed to have ties to al-Shabab, has had a warrant out for her arrest for more than a year in Kenya, after she was tied to other terror attacks in the region. (Above: The fake identity that Lewthwaite used to enter Kenya.)

Interpol alert goes out for Samantha Lewthwaite: While it’s not clear if the British expat really did play a role in the Nairobi mall attacks, that hasn’t stopped the international police organization from issuing a “red alert” for the so-called “White Widow,” who gained notoriety after her husband, Germaine Lindsay, was involved in the 2005 London subway bombings. Lewthwaite, who is believed to have ties to al-Shabab, has had a warrant out for her arrest for more than a year in Kenya, after she was tied to other terror attacks in the region. (Above: The fake identity that Lewthwaite used to enter Kenya.)

23:21 // 11 months ago
September 24, 2013
I will repeat what I said before: No Muslim students coming here with visas. No more mosques being built here until you stand up and denounce what’s happened in the name of your prophet.
Fox News co-host Bob Beckel went off on American Muslims on Monday, demanding that no more mosques be built until moderate Muslims “denounce” the recent mall attack in Kenya. - POLITICO (via brooklynmutt)

(via academicmermaid)

18:01 // 11 months ago

The attack in Nairobi may be over, but the numbers aren’t looking good:

  • five militants allied with Somali extremist organization al-Shabab were killed by Kenyan security forces following a four-day siege of the Westgate shopping mall in the capital city of Nairobi.
  • 11 suspects remain in custody, as authorities scramble to recover people and/or bodies (including suspects) still trapped under rubble after part of the shopping center collapsed during the attack.
  • 67 civilians and security personnel have been confirmed dead as a result of the four-day assault, including members of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s family and noted poet/diplomat Kofi Awoonor. source
16:13 // 11 months ago
theatlantic:

Is the Nairobi Mall Carnage Bigger Than Kenya?

The weekend’s horrific al-Shabaab attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall is still not over, and the context and consequences of the attack are uncertain. Despite Kenyan authorities’ claim of “full control” of the building, at last report the militants were still “hiding” and many hostages remained unaccounted for. Westgate is upmarket, and the victims are also up-market, including the nephew of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his fiancé.
There are also many unanswered questions, such as:
-Who exactly are the attackers?  There are competing twitter feeds with lists of names that are promptly withdrawn or repudiated by al-Shabaab in Somalia.
-Was the attack directed from Somalia, or did it originate within the large Somali community in Kenya, some of whom support al-Shabaab?
-Presumably the motivation for the attack was the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia.  But were there other motivations as well, such as an attack by the poor and dispossessed from the Nairobi slums on the rich?
Read more. [Image: Reuters]


The fact that so many questions remain about the situation days after the event underlines exactly how big of a story it is. Are we seeing a new front to the War on Terror here, or something else entirely?

theatlantic:

Is the Nairobi Mall Carnage Bigger Than Kenya?

The weekend’s horrific al-Shabaab attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall is still not over, and the context and consequences of the attack are uncertain. Despite Kenyan authorities’ claim of “full control” of the building, at last report the militants were still “hiding” and many hostages remained unaccounted for. Westgate is upmarket, and the victims are also up-market, including the nephew of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his fiancé.

There are also many unanswered questions, such as:

-Who exactly are the attackers?  There are competing twitter feeds with lists of names that are promptly withdrawn or repudiated by al-Shabaab in Somalia.

-Was the attack directed from Somalia, or did it originate within the large Somali community in Kenya, some of whom support al-Shabaab?

-Presumably the motivation for the attack was the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia.  But were there other motivations as well, such as an attack by the poor and dispossessed from the Nairobi slums on the rich?

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

The fact that so many questions remain about the situation days after the event underlines exactly how big of a story it is. Are we seeing a new front to the War on Terror here, or something else entirely?

10:07 // 11 months ago
September 23, 2013
9:00 // 12 months ago
The now three-day siege continues on in Nairobi’s Westgate mall between Kenya forces and terrorists Monday September 24. More here. 

The now three-day siege continues on in Nairobi’s Westgate mall between Kenya forces and terrorists Monday September 24. More here

7:39 // 12 months ago
September 22, 2013
17:04 // 12 months ago
A loss to the literary world: Professor, poet and diplomat Kofi Awoonor, one of Ghana’s most famous writers, was killed in Kenya’s Westgate Mall shootings on Saturday. He was to speak as part of the mall’s Storymoja Hay Festival, intended to boost literacy rates among Kenyan children, when he was killed in the still-ongoing attack. The news was announced by Ghana’s president early Sunday.

A loss to the literary world: Professor, poet and diplomat Kofi Awoonor, one of Ghana’s most famous writers, was killed in Kenya’s Westgate Mall shootings on Saturday. He was to speak as part of the mall’s Storymoja Hay Festival, intended to boost literacy rates among Kenyan children, when he was killed in the still-ongoing attack. The news was announced by Ghana’s president early Sunday.

16:53 // 12 months ago