Aryn Baker reports: Despite longstanding family ties to Kenya, U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Nairobi—the first by a serving U.S. President—has been largely an official affair, defined by bilateral meetings and entrepreneurship conferences.
That all changed on Sunday, when he addressed Kenyan youth at a sports stadium and spoke from the heart. As his convoy turned into Nairobi’s SafariCom Arena, he finally received the exuberant welcome that security precautions had all but denied him since his arrival two nights prior.
Crowds of men, women and children, some waving flags and banners welcoming him back to his father’s homeland, thronged the highway. Inside the arena, some 4,500 students, government officials and civil society leaders jumped to their feet as Obama’s half sister, Auma Obama, introduced a man who really had no need for introduction. By the time Obama took the podium, the crowd was ecstatic. “I love you!” shouted a member of the audience. “I love you too,” Obama said to the crowd.
Part state address, part commencement speech, Obama’s 40-minute talk started with a personal reminiscence of his first trip to Kenya in 1998, when he was a young law student seeking to learn more about his roots.
On that trip, he said, the airline lost his bags. “That doesn’t happen on Air Force One,” he joked. Read the rest of this entry »
70 147 Kenyan students were massacred Thursday when Somalia‘s Shebab Islamist group raided a university, the interior minister said, the country’s deadliest attack since US embassy bombings in 1998.
“Unfortunately, we lost… a number of lives, we have not confirmed fully…”
“We are mopping up the area,” Interior Minster Joseph Nkaiserry told reporters, saying that four gunmen had been killed after Kenyan troops launched an assault on the final building where the insurgents had holed up for over 12 hours.
“The terrorists, 90 percent of the threat has been eliminated… we have been able to confirm that four terrorists have been killed.”
“Unfortunately, we lost… a number of lives, we have not confirmed fully, but it is in the region of 70 students, and 79 have been injured, nine of them critically,” he added.
The masked gunmen began the assault before dawn, using grenades to blast open the gates of the university in the northeastern town of Garissa, near the lawless border with war-torn Somalia, before attacking students as they slept. Read the rest of this entry »
Bridget Johnson writes: Al-Shabaab is claiming that there are American gunmen among those still holed up in the Westgate mall in a standoff with Kenyan and Israeli special forces.
The Somali al-Qaeda affiliate tweeted a series of names on its latest account before Twitter against suspended the group. Al-Shabaab has been creating new accounts each time they get shut down but a movement of pro-Kenyan tweeters has been tracking down the new accounts and complaining to Twitter.
“We received permission to disclose the names of our mujahideen inside #Westgate,” their latest account tweeted.
They proceeded to tweet the names one by one, including Ahmed Mohamed Isse, 22, “native” of St. Paul, Minn., Abdifatah Osman Keenadiid, 24, of Minneapolis, and Gen Mustafe Noorudiin, 27, of Kansas City, Mo.
Americans among injured in deadly Kenya mall attack as Al Qaeda-linked Somali militant group claims responsibilityPosted: September 21, 2013
A statement from al-Shabab on its official Twitter feed Saturday says the attacks, which killed at least 39 and wounded 150, including American citizens, are retribution for military action by Kenya inside Somalia. The group said it was now shifting the battlefield to Kenya. Police say they are treating the assault as a “terrorist attack.”
Witnesses say the gunmen asked victims they had cornered if they were Muslim: If the answer was yes, several witnesses said, those people were free to go. The non-Muslims were not. Read the rest of this entry »