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Kenya army, Somali militia swap Twitter insults

Posted by Administrator on December 13, 2011

Kenyan soldiers and members of an extremist Islamist militant group have been  fighting each other in Somalia since Kenya invaded two months ago. Now, their  spokesmen are taking the battle onto Twitter, with taunts, accusations and  insults being directly traded in a rare engagement on the Internet.

The propaganda war on the microblogging website shows the increasingly  sophisticated use of media by both sides and underscores that there is often  little reliable information about the conflict in Somalia that now directly or  indirectly involves a half-dozen nations, analysts say.

“The tweets themselves will not be entirely accurate but it will allow  analysts to triangulate that information and come up with a more accurate  picture of what is really happening,” said E.J. Hogendoorn of the International  Crisis Group think tank.

On Monday, the Islamic insurgent group al-Shabab used its Twitter feed to  accuse Kenya of having a history of committing “barbarous acts” toward ethnic  Somalis, and cited a 1984 massacre where human rights groups say Kenyan troops  killed around 3,000 Somali men in eastern Kenya.

Al-Shabab’s tweets, written in fluent English, mocked an earlier Twitter  posting by Kenya’s army spokesman, Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir, that threatened to  bomb concentrations of donkeys that might be moving weapons for the  insurgents.

“Your eccentric battle strategy has got animal rights groups quite concerned,  Major,” the al-Shabab posting said.

The Associated Press has determined that both Twitter accounts – HSMPress and  MajorEChirchir – are legitimate. It’s not clear who is writing the al-Shabab  tweets.

Source: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/12/MNHO1MBFM9.DTL#ixzz1gOUsqXyE

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