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Al-Shabab militants launch attack near Kenya-Somalia border

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Three al-Shabab fighters on Sunday raided a construction site for a hospital in Mandera County in northeast Kenya near the Somali border but were repulsed by locals, according to officials.

Mohamed Birik, Northeastern regional commissioner, said "the local community confronted the gunmen who proceeded to the construction site but missed their target.

The gunmen later opened fire and fled though nobody was injured."

He said that 20 workers who were at the construction site had already been evacuated by the police when the al-Shabab militants attempted to attack.

The latest attack came in the wake of pressure to re-open quarry mines in the volatile region by investors and local communities.

Fred Matiang’i, cabinet secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, in June assured Mandera County leaders that quarry mines will be re-opened soon but in a structured manner.

"It is not the intention of the government to sabotage or kill the economy of Mandera County.

Our only concern has been the level of insecurity at the quarries," Matiang’i said.

The Kenyan government announced the closure of quarries on May 4, 2018, after four miners were killed by suspected al-Shabab militants at Shimbir Fatuma quarry in Mandera South.


Kenyan officials share experience in fighting extremist violence in Mozambique

MAPUTO Mozambique (Xinhua) -- Officials from Kenya shared Wednesday in Maputo their experience in combating extremist violence and their mechanism to prevent and reduce recruitment, particularly, of women and girls.

Poverty remains serious, making women and girls vulnerable to recruitment of militants for extremist violence, Lilian Okembo from Kenya said at an event that gathered experts from the southern African region to discuss the role of women in police in their fight against gender-based violence, cybercrimes and human trafficking, among others.

"Ladies are very trustworthy, loyal, so when they recruit a lady, they know that they have recruited an entire village," Okembo said when explaining why women are victims of recruitment.

Sospeter Mungi from the counter-terrorism center in Kenya said that other forms of preventing and mitigating extremist violence include community sensitization, national legislation to address challenges regarding children’s rights, and juvenile justice frameworks.

Women police were encouraged to pay full attention to children’s behavior in social media, another platform used by recruiters to increase their members.

Participants also stressed joint efforts made by different countries, as extremist violence has become a global and regional concern.

United Nations and African Union envoys condemn suicide attack in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Senior envoys of the United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU) in Somalia have condemned a suicide attack that took place in the offices of Mogadishu’s mayor on Wednesday, which left at least six officials dead and several others, including the mayor, injured.

In separate statements, James Swan, special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, and Francisco Madeira, special representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, said the attack only showed a vicious disregard for the sanctity of human life.

"The United Nations stands with the people and government of Somalia in their rejection of such terrorist acts, and our thoughts are with the victims of this attack," Swan said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

A suicide bomb was detonated within the municipal premises during a meeting at the mayor’s compound, leaving six people dead and an unknown number injured.

Mayor Abdirahman Omar Osman was among those injured when the suicide bomber detonated explosives which were strapped to his waist.

"I deplore this heinous attack which not only demonstrates a violent disregard for the sanctity of human life, but also targets Somalis working to improve the lives of their fellow Somalis in the Mogadishu-Banadir region," Swan said.

The UN envoy had met with the mayor and members of his team earlier in the day to hear first-hand about the progress and challenges in the capital and surrounding area.

Swan, who also heads the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), extended his condolences to the families and friends of the victims and wished a swift recovery to the injured.

Madeira, the AU envoy, also condemned the attack, saying increased attacks in the Horn of Africa nation will not deter efforts to develop the country.

"I condemn in the strongest terms today’s horrific attack on the Mayor of Mogadishu’s compound; an act of hate against the people of Somalis aimed to terrorize and curtail the country’s progress.

"I send my sympathies to the families of the victims," Madeira said.

Militant group al-Shabab, who claimed responsibility for the attack, said their fighters were targeting the UN envoy who they believed was inside the mayor’s compound.

Despite being driven out of Mogadishu, the militant group still stages guerrilla-style assaults and bomb attacks to drive out AU mission’s troops from Somalia and impose its harsh version of Islamic law across the Horn of Africa nation.


Somalia army kills three al-Shabab militants in southern Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Three al-Shabab militants were killed on Friday evening in an operation conducted by Somali forces in Awdinle town in the southern region of Bay, an official said on Saturday.

Ibrahim Mohamed Nour, governor of Awdinle town, told journalists that Somali forces launched an attack on al-Shabab extremists following a tip-off from the residents saying the militants were forcing Awdinle residents to pay compulsory taxes.

"The operation resulted in the killing of three al-Shabab militants and the capture of another one alive. Weapons and ammunitions were also recovered from the militants," said Nour, adding that the captured militant is under the custody of government forces.

"We heard the sound of gun fight late Friday afternoon and later leant it was a clash between government forces and al-Shabab militants, but we can’t give further details," Hassan Gelle, a local resident told Xinhua by phone.

The latest military offensive came barely a week after Somali army killed 15 al-Shabab militants in an offensive in Wanlaweyn town in Lower Shabelle region.

Somali forces have intensified operations on al-Shabab extremists in central and southern Somalia, conducting consecutive offensives to flush the militants out of those regions.



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