by Christine Lagat NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The horrific terror attack that claimed 28 civilians in Kenya‘s Mandera County on Saturday is a confirmation the east African
nation remains a soft target for militants from neighboring
Kenyan officials confirmed that Somalia terror group
'al-Shabaab' hijacked a Nairobi-bound bus several kilometers
from Mandera town and killed passengers based on their religious
Following 'al-Shabaab's latest attack in Mandera County,
experts and ordinary civilians stressed that a revamp of the
entire security architecture was urgent to defeat terrorism.
Mwenda Mbijiwe, a security analyst regretted that Kenya’s
vulnerability to terrorism remains high thanks to weak border
surveillance and failure to act on timely intelligence reports.
During a live debate at a national television station,
Mbijiwe emphasized that Kenya must revamp intelligence
gathering, enhance community policing and border patrols to
minimize terror attacks.
"The Mandera terrorist attack exposed our soft underbelly and
it seems lessons of the past have not sunk in our collective
psyche as a nation.
"We must adopt new strategies to slay the dragon of terror,"
Kenya was cited by a recent global report to be among the top
five countries in Africa grappling with terrorism. The East
African nation has suffered terror attacks since 1998 and the
menace spiked in 2011 when its troops launched an onslaught
against 'al-Shabaab' inside Somalia.
Kenyan Defense Forces were credited for degrading
'al-Shabaab' though the insurgents are still vicious.
Mbijiwe said the death of 'al-Shabaab' kingpins has dealt a
huge blow to the terrorist network but Kenyan security forces
should not be complacent.
"By cutting off key sources of funding and eliminating the
masterminds, we have undermined the capacity for 'al-Shabaab' to
state a devastating attack.
"However, vigilance should not be relaxed since the militants
are still roaming along the vast and porous border with
Somalia," said Mbijiwe.
Kenya should replicate models on effective intelligence
gathering from Israel, China and the United States to deter
Mbijiwe noted that though terror is a global challenge, some
countries have contained it thanks to investments in
surveillance technology and efficient coordination among
"Officers from the national intelligence service should not
operate from the offices.
"They should penetrate the grassroots to collect real-time
information to help foil terrorists’ plots," Mbijiwe noted.
Kenya’s vast and lawless border with Somalia has provided a
safe passage for 'al-Shabaab' militants and their collaborators.
Mbijiwe emphasized that Kenya must retrain and equip border
patrol guards to enable them to apprehend infiltrators.
"Heavily armed militants are able to shuttle between Somalia
and Kenya to carry out their evil mission.
"We must enhance patrols at this porous borders," said
Kenya has lost an estimated 200 people from terrorism in
Senor officials said on Saturday that a major offensive was
launched to nab the militants who killed bus passengers in
Leaders from across the political and religious divide
expressed outrage over the slaughter of innocent civilians.
"Mandera has recorded the highest incidents of terror attacks
after Mombasa and Nairobi this year.
"We have raised this issue to authorities before yet the
response has not been robust," said Mandera Senator Billow
Kerrow, urging security personnel to act promptly on
intelligence reports about impending terror attack.
Pundits who spoke to the national media after Mandera terror
attack regretted that haphazard response to this challenge was
to blame for untimely loss of lives.
"Our response to the threat of terrorism is not coherent and
there is need to invest more in deterrent measures.
"We must address inter-tribal skirmishes that have provided a
bleeding ground for terrorism in the northern rangelands,"
remarked Benji Ndolo, a political analyst.
Andrew Frankline, a security analyst shared Ndolo’s
sentiments, and stressed that Kenyan security apparatus must
reinvent the wheel in order to combat terrorism effectively.
"Apparently, terrorists have acquired a certain level of
sophistication to enable them to evade the security dragnet.
"The public should share intelligence on terror suspects
living in their midst," Frankline said.
IGAD pledges support for
Kenya after deadly bus attack
by David Musyoka and Njoroge Kaburo
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
A East Africa’s bloc on Monday joined the
international community in condemning the deadly terror attack
on a commuter bus in northern Kenya on Saturday that left 28
Mahboub Maalim, Executive Secretary of The Inter-Governmental
Authority on Development (IGAD), called for those responsible
"to be brought to justice swiftly."
"IGAD stands resolute with the people and government of
Kenya in this fight to ensure the safety and security of all
citizens and visitors without distinction of faith, race,
creed, or other social or economic standing," Maalim said in
a statement issued in Nairobi.
He conveyed heartfelt condolences to the families of the
victims on his own behalf and that of the entire region.
The IGAD chief also expressed his solidarity with the people
and the government of Kenya, concluding that there can be
absolutely no justification for such acts that occurred in
The statement comes after about 15 heavily armed gunmen
hijacked a passenger bus and all the passengers asked to
come down where they separated Christians from Muslims.
The Christians, 19 men and 9 women, were then sprayed
'al-Shabaab' later claimed responsibility for the act
which comes amid crackdown on radicalized Muslim youth in
the coastal city of Mombasa.
The group said the killing outside Mandera was in retaliation
to raids on mosques and mistreatment of Muslims in Mombasa
Deputy President William Ruto announced on Sunday evening
that those who carried out the bus attack did not live to
"enjoy" the act.
"Our retaliatory action left in its trail more than 100
"It also destroyed four technicals and the camp from
which this crime was planned," Ruto said.
However, the militants have denied the allegations, saying
all the militiamen who carried out the massacre returned to
their bases safely.
The Mandera bus attack follows a string of bombings and
killings in the town in recent months.
The East African nation continues to suffer several attacks
as terrorists change tuck to beat heightened security and carry
on with their attacks.
There have been attacks involving shootings, grenades, or
other explosive devices in Kenya. Most of these attacks occurred
in northeastern Kenya, mainly in Dadaab, Wajir, Garissa, and
Mandera counties, as well as along the Kenyan coast.
UN Security Council slams
deadly terrorist attack on bus in northern Kenya
UNITED NATIONS (Xinhua) --
The UN Security Council on Monday strongly
condemned the attack on a commuter bus in northern Kenya, which
killed at least 28 people Saturday, saying "terrorism in all its
forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious
threats to international peace and security."
"The members of the Security Council strongly condemn
Saturday’ s attack in Mandera, Kenya for which Al-Shabaab has
claimed responsibility and which has caused the deaths of
numerous innocent people," said the 15-nation UN body in a
statement issued here to the press.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that any acts
of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their
motivation, wherever and whenever and by whomsoever committed,
said the statement.
The Council reiterated their determination to combat all
forms of terrorism, in accordance with their responsibilities
under the Charter of the United Nations.
They underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers,
financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism
to justice and urged all states, in accordance with their
obligations under international law and relevant Security
Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with relevant
regional authorities in this regard, said the statement.
The Security Council also urged countries to ensure that
measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their
obligations under international law, in particular
international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law,
and reiterated their resolute and long-standing support to
all actors working to end the threat posed by 'al-Shabaab'
in the region.
On Saturday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned
the attack and voiced his hope that "those responsible for
today’s attack will be brought to justice swiftly."
'al-Shabaab' militants attacked the bus early Saturday.
The bus was traveling to the capital, Nairobi, when it was
stopped in Mandera county, not far from the Somali border.
A statement on a website linked to the Islamist group said
the Saturday attack was staged in retaliation for security raids
on mosques in Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa earlier this week,
Since Kenya sent troops across the border into Somalia in
2011, northern and parts of eastern Kenya have been hit by a
series of blasts, with many targeting local security forces and