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Archive for January 15th, 2012

Kenya arrests 29 Ugandans ‘headed to Somalia to fight’

Posted by Administrator on January 15, 2012

NAIROBI, January 15 – Kenyan police have arrested 29 Ugandans suspected of seeking to join Islamist rebels in Somalia, a police spokesman said Sunday.

The suspects were arrested in Nairobi and were “undergoing interrogation,” Eric Kiraithe told AFP. “Police are investigating them because they are believed to have been headed to Somalia to fight” alongside Al Shabaab rebels.

The 27 men and two women were arrested Friday in a Nairobi suburb after raising suspicions among their neighbours.

Recruitment by Somalia’s Al Shabaab rebels of young people across East Africa, notably in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, has been a source of growing concern for regional security services.

The United Nations warned last July that the Al Shabaab was recruiting, raising money and even conducting training in Kenya, where networks linked to the Somali rebels were growing in strength.

The group warned of the danger of “a new generation of East African jihadists” including some recent converts to Islam and others attracted mainly by promises of money from the Islamist recruiters.

Many Kenyans are among detainees held by Ugandan authorities on suspicion of involvement in twin bomb attacks in Kampala in July 2010 that claimed 76 lives.

The Al Shabaab, fighting Somalia’s weak transition government backed by the international community, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The Al Shabaab have in recent months seen their grip on the centre and south of Somalia weakened by a Kenyan army offensive that began in mid-October, followed by an Ethiopian incursion in November.

The Al Shabaab have since claimed responsibility for several reprisal attacks in northeastern Kenya.

Source: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2012/01/kenya-arrests-29-ugandans-headed-to-somalia-to-fight/

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Holiday homes for Kenya’s wealthy

Posted by Administrator on January 15, 2012

Most of us know that the name “Nairobi” comes from a Maasai word “enairobe”, which literally means ‘stream of cold water’.

If you’ve lived in the capital long enough, you must have realized that the truth of the above statement may have been lost in translation.

Had there been a Maasai word for ‘land of insecurity, traffic jams and general cacophony’ then this great city we call home would have had a slightly different name.

Don’t get me wrong, Nairobi must have had and still has a plethora of advantages.

But once in a while,  you just have to get away from it all.

Holiday homes are a relatively new development on the Kenyan property scene.

They are always built around a great natural feature such as a water body, mountain or the wilderness.

In a country where natural beauty is in such extravagant abundance, it is no surprise that holiday homes are all the rage among the well-to-do in Kenya today.

Traditionally, the sequence of wealth accumulation was in such a way that after splurging on the city home, one would go for a holiday retreat at the Coast. Though this still remains true, the holiday home options have expanded to include Naivasha, Laikipia, and even Eldoret. Here, they exist mostly as gated communities with controlled access into the wild.

To sweeten up the package, developers have begun incorporating artificial additives such as golf courses to nature’s rustic beauty. Though research shows that most home owners who buy into golf course luxury homes don’t even play golf, the prestige associated with the leisurely game is enough to justify the hefty price tags for them.

Golf Course One of the most celebrated names in holiday home developments is The Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha.

The lodge is perched on the side of Eburru Escarpment 7,000 feet above the world’s largest valley. From the vast expanse of the rugged plains to the gentle shimmer of Lake Naivasha below, the hotel boasts one of the most spectacular views in Africa.

The credentials don’t end there; the lodge has a world class 18-hole golf course and numerous private cottages dotted around the course. With cottages going for between Sh25-30 million, this development has remained out of reach for the majority of Kenyans.

Some of the prominent home owners here include Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Hon. Musalia Mudavadi, and KenGen MD Eddie Njoroge, Cotu Secretary-General, Francis Atwoli, among a host of other prominent Kenyans.

If buying one is not a viable option for you, you can always rent out a cottage for a quiet weekend getaway.

This creates a win-win situation for both home owner and guest tenant, as maintenance costs for the properties are upwards of Sh200,000 a year. A night in the best cottages will set you back by around Sh35,000.

For this price, you get to enjoy up to five spacious en-suite bedrooms, a wrap-around balcony and a view to-die-for.

Lakeside development

Also in Naivasha, Osotua Villas is  a proposed lakeside development consisting of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units. Prices start from Sh8.5million and go up to Sh20 million.

This development is the ideal alternative for those who are looking for a bargain, but don’t want to compromise on beautiful scenery. Due to its proximity to Nairobi and the beautiful scenery, Naivasha has proved to be one of the most popular holiday home locations in Kenya.

Gated Communities Down South, the Kenyan Coast has been considered a holiday home destination since time immemorial. From Lamu to Vipingo, the coast is what you may call a Mecca for holiday homes.

While in other areas they exist as gated communities, holiday  abodes here are sprawled freely along the beach with great views of the ocean and the sunset beyond. Lamu, arguably the cream of the crop, is a favourite for holiday home owners.

The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and boasts the oldest and best preserved Swahili settlement on the East African coast. The sense of preservation is so great, that the streets have remained as they were hundreds of years ago.

This means that vehicular movement is restricted within the Old Town, so most home owners have looked to the water for alternative means of transport. This is a town where a 40 x 20 plot goes for Sh40million but you can’t access it by car!

Renting isn’t very affordable either. Some of the three-bedroom houses with great ocean views will go for upwards of Sh30,000 a night, and that’s in the low season.

Lamu is not only a holiday destination for the Kenyan elite, but for the international monarchs as well. Prince Ernst August of Hanover, a cousin to  Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, owns property on the famous Shella Beach.

The Prince of Monaco recently came under the spotlight when he assaulted his neighbour because of his (the neighbour’s) incessant noise making.

Watamu and Malindi are also internationally famed for their holiday homes. A 3-bedroom house on Casuarina beach in Malindi will set you back anywhere between Sh100,000 – Sh300,000 a week in the high season.

For this you get a swimming pool, personal gourmet chef and a maid to help out with the intricacies of running the house.

If you’d like something more flamboyant, then Formula One Flavio Briatore’s Lion in the Sun Resort may tickle your fancy.

With weekly rates starting at Sh300,000 per person sharing and going up to Sh4,500,000, the villa is not your average bed and breakfast.

This comes with 6 phyto-mud therapy sessions a week, and 5-star cuisine. In short, you are guaranteed to be spoilt rotten and not just anyone is allowed entry into some of these outfits.

Still at the coast, Vipingo Ridge is another famous holiday home development that is coming up pretty fast.

Though not on the beach, the development is strategically perched on a hill side, allowing inhabitants to have breathtaking panoramic views of the ocean.

Some of the amenities include an 18-hole golf course and a private airstrip serviced by 4 weekly Fly540 flights.

An acre of undeveloped land in this prestigious gated community will cost you Sh11.5 million. Prices of off-plan villas start at Sh32million and go all the way to Sh41million. Sitting on the apex of the golf course is the Vipingo Ridge clubhouse.

Employing modern twists to traditional Swahili architecture, the clubhouse is an architectural marvel in its own right.

If you absolutely have to be on the beach side, you can join the Vipingo Ridge Beach Club, which offers all residents a tranquil environment in which to enjoy diving, snorkeling and water sports or just a relaxing day away on a secluded beach.

Some of the more notable names to call this development their second home  include Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Communications Minister Samuel Poghisio.


Laikipia, with one of the most unique horizons in the world, is another favourite location for holiday home owners.

Mukima Ridge is one such development. With the silhouettes of Mt. Kenya and the Aberdares as its backdrop, Mukima Ridge truly has amazing views.

The development comprises of 10 houses each on 12 acres of private wilderness. Peace, seclusion and intimacy with nature are guaranteed without foregoing the luxury of modern amenities such as Wi-Fi and satellite TV.

The houses have high ceilings and elegant French windows that allow natural light to flood in freely.

A wrap around verandah ensures that great views are available from every room in the house.

Apart from 3 ensuite bedrooms, every house also comes with a detached a 2-bedroom self-contained cottage. At a price of Sh50 million each, the houses are truly exclusive to those whose pockets do not feel the pinch.

Game sanctuary

Eldoret has in the recent past laid claim to be a holiday home destination that can keep up with the other more established locations around Kenya.

This is all thanks to Sergoit Golf and Wildlife Resort, touted as a Sh40 billion real estate project that offers residents the chance to own a home within a secure gated community.

The development is set on a 3,100 acre piece of pristine land located 15km from Eldoret town, and will comprise of three golf courses, 2,000 villas, a private hospital, a shopping mall and a 5-star hotel.

Plots are priced between Sh2.5 and Sh4 million depending on size and location. The resort will also feature a game sanctuary, and excursions to nearby tourist attractions.

According to the developers, construction of the first phase of 626 villas will be completed mid this year.

As discussed earlier, holiday homes are ideally located around an eminent natural occurrence.

It may not always be within immediate reach, but must be clearly visible when viewed from the homes. When this logic is defied, the result is more often than not disastrous.

An example of this unfortunate situation is Naiposha Villas in Naivasha.

The reasons behind the development’s demise are not clear, but the concept may have been flawed from the beginning.

Extensively advertised, the development promised to be the next big thing on the holiday homes scene.

But the location of the site was not extraordinary; there were no breathtaking views, nor a world class golf course.

Source: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Holiday+homes+for+Kenyas+rich++/-/1248928/1304572/-/142woodz/-/index.html

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Elections to be held in March 2013, court rules

Posted by Administrator on January 15, 2012

THE High Court has ruled that the next general election will be held in March 2013. But if the election has to be held this year, President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga will have to dissolve the coalition government in writing, ruled justices Isaac Lenaola, Mumbi Ngugi and David Majanja. Going by the ruling, the Eleventh Parliament, the Senate and county assemblies will serve a shorter term ­– less than five years – because the election date has already been set by the constitution as second Tuesday of August of every fifth year, the judges said.

In a judgment read yesterday for close to two hours, the three judges said that to determine the date of the first election under the constitution, reference has to be made to sections 9 and 10 of the sixth schedule. The schedule states: “In the year 2012, elections can be held within 60 days from the date of which the National Coalition is dissolved by written agreement between the President and the Prime Minister, in accordance with section 6(b) of the National Accord and Reconciliation Act of 2008.”

The elections can also be held after the expiry of the term of the Tenth Parliament on the fifth anniversary of the day it first sat. The current Parliament first sat on January 15, 2008 and its term will expire on January 14, 2013. The elections can thereafter be held within 60 days after dissolution of the Parliament.

In the ruling, the judges said the President no longer has the power to dissolve Parliament under the constitution. Section 59 of the former constitution, which gave the President power to dissolve Parliament, was not extended in the new constitution, said the judges. They said the election date can only be set by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, which can do so within 60 days after the expiry of the term of the current Parliament or two months after the dissolution of the coalition government. They agreed with IEBC lawyer Pheroze Nowrojee, saying the electoral body has been mandated by the constitution to set dates just as it has been doing with the by-elections and the referendum.

Kilome MP John Harun Mwau, politician Milton Imanyara, Prof Larry Gumbe and others, had brought the case forth. They wanted to know the date of the next general election, what would happen to the un-expired term of the current Parliament if the polls are held in August this year, and whether the term of the President can be amended without a referendum.

There have been various schools of thought concerning the election date. Some people said the poll should be held in August this year as per constitution. The Cabinet has proposed the date should be pushed to December and has already tabled a bill in Parliament for debate. Several lawyers including Kibe Mungai and Prof Yash Pal Ghai said the date could only be derived after reading the sixth schedule.

In the ruling, the three constitutional court judges said that the term of the President couldn’t be amended without subjecting Kenyans into a referendum because his term has been protected by the constitution. “In accordance with Article 255 of the constitution, an amendment to the constitution amending the term of the President cannot be effected into law without a referendum,” ruled the judges.

They said the current Parliament has also been protected by virtue of the sixth schedule, which they said was placed in the constitution to clear doubts. “We are cognizant to the fact that the sixth schedule was a compromise political package arrived at between various factions of politicians in order to ensure the passage of the constitution,” said the judges.

They said since the ruling is expected to generate a lot of debate, Kenyans should bear with it because they have tried their best to interpret the law and maintain a balance. “We are conscious that our findings may be unpopular with a section of Kenyans who have preconceived notions about the elections but we hasten to remind Kenyans that our undertaking is not to write or re-write the constitution to suit popular opinion. Our responsibility is to interpret the constitution in a manner that remains faithful to its letter and spirit and give effect to its objectives,” said the judges.

The electoral body through Nowrojee had earlier ruled out the possibility of holding the elections in August saying some provisions that are to be fulfilled by political parties, had been overtaken by events. The IEBC has further set its calendar including registration of voters and which can only begin on June 9, this year.

Nowrojee said Section 27 of the Act requires political parties to submit nomination rules to IEBC six months before the nomination of its candidates. And to comply with the provision, parties should have submitted the said rules by the end of November 2011 if the elections are to be held in August 2012.

The ruling was made as political parties are gearing up for the election. It also comes as a relief for civil servants wishing to vie for political seats as they can now continue working for a few months. If the elections were to be held in August, they would have been required to quit office by today.


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Of Rigging Using Diaspora Votes and Judicial Activism!

Posted by Administrator on January 15, 2012

Here and there:

· 1) Comrade Miguna Miguna continued where he had stopped, with his hard tackles on Raila, when he appeared on K24 on 12th January, 2012: he revealed details of how the PM assigned him to work closely with the ICC investigators on the Kenyan cases; he said Raila detailed him to be involved in the process, after investigators approached him for information; he said he was approached by people from the ICC and informed Raila about it; he said Raila gave him the green light to be involved in the process and to report back to him directly (People, 13th January, 2012).

· This is the political angle people have always suspected existed, in the wider conspiracy of evil to fix some leaders, especially Kenyatta. Miguna repeated that Raila can never be trusted with the presidency; he said he will never vote for the PM; he said the PM is a conman; he said the PM is very vindictive, corrupt, malicious, heartless, et cetera.

· 2) The real-lion-turned-timid-domesticated-cat, Jimmi Orengo, said (Star, 10th January, 2012) focus of rigging has shifted to the Diaspora where stringent election rules are yet to be put in place; he wants the population of eligible Kenyan voters living in the Diaspora made public to avert poll rigging; he called on the government and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to make the figure public before the elections. Orengo added: “It is true that the G7 Alliance leaders are hell-bent on using the Diaspora votes to rig out Prime Minister Raila Odinga.”

· But Raila and his sister have been the most prominent Kenyans campaigning for the Diaspora votes, and Orengo knows that fact! An intelligent Kenyan like Orengo should sieve his sycophancy to the barest minimum otherwise he always comes out badly, behaving like an idiot yet he is not one such! And could this latest nonsense about “G7 Alliance rigging using the Diaspora votes” have anything to do with the leaflets doing rounds in Kisumu (on 12th-13th January, 2012) asking members of “a certain community to leave Kisumu in three days”? Dr. Mzalendo Kibunjia and his team should be pro-active.

· 3) Prime Minister Raila Odinga has blamed (People, Saturday/Sunday January 14-15, 2012) “the political elites” in the post-colonial era “for promoting negative ethnicity.” He said the society was united during the struggle for independence. The PM attributed the vice to a clique of self-centred elites close to power for entertaining ethnic based politics that later polarised communities and created rifts and suspicion, adding: “The common man has suffered from negative ethnicity which was created by very few elites who took the place of the colonialist(s) after independence.”

· The PM should tell Kenyans some of the political elites he is talking about; is he alluding to “a certain community”, the scapegoat used by all pathological tribalists; and is that “certain community” synonymous with the Kikuyu and/or GEMA? And who created the rift and suspicion between Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and Thomas Joseph Mboya, and by extension between Luo Nyanza and South Nyanza; who created the rift and suspicion between Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, on one hand, and Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and Thomas Joseph Mboya on the other?

· Kindly, please see our posting entitled “Who Fought the Other – Thomas Joseph Mboya or Jaramogi Oginga Odinga?” dated 26th October, 2011.

· Raila should respect the people of this great country and not treat them like amnesiac idiots: who was responsible for assembling and propagating the satanic murderous negative ethnicity strategy of 41 against 1, whose key agenda it was to decimate the Kikuyu/GEMA; and what is the relationship between that evil strategy and the PEV, and all the concomitant events that followed? Should the PM not bear the greatest political responsibility, as Kenyatta said at the ICC, and/or political as well as criminal responsibility, for the same?

· Addressing ODM-KPU party delegates at Karen, in Nairobi (on 12th January, 2012), the PM said that “Kenyans should be aware of and refuse to believe those trying to malign his name by digging things from the graveyard!” Nobody is digging any graveyard (for anything) about Raila, in order to peddle falsehoods against him; rather it is Raila who is digging from non-existent graves for non-existent things to besmirch his opponents! Nobody in the opposition is digging any graves; and certainly not Comrade Miguna Miguna.

· 4) The Independence party Kanu (Kenya African National Union) has formally adopted a new name, the Kenya Alliance of National Unity (People, Saturday/Sunday, January 14-15, 2012); this was part of the changes effected after the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) adopted a new Constitution to comply with the Political Parties Act (2011). Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat said Kanu is the party to watch in the elections: “Those of you who thought Kanu was dead had better watch this space!”

· The Kanu Chairman, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Uhuru Kenyatta, said the party is in total harmony and has a strong chance of forming the next Government: “This is the message we are sending all over the country. That Kanu is united more than ever before; we are in total harmony and the party has a potential of forming the next Government. Kanu will work with the PNU Alliance as a friend. Kanu has always been willing to work with others but we always want to work from a position of strength.”

· Kenyatta’s spokesman Munyori Buku also clarified to the media (Saturday Nation, 14th January, 2012) that the party would work as a friend to the PNU Alliance: “The difference must be noted.”

· NB: Dr. Bonny Bullfighter Khalwale was referring to the G7 Alliance and not the PNU Alliance, as captured in our posting dated 12th January, 2012, when he said: “My opinion is that what Kalonzo has done is right and others should do the same. We in the G7 Alliance want all the candidates to vie for the elections and the first two to fight it in the run-off.” Well put: this Bullfighter fellow is a serious Kenyan!

· 5) The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) will petition President Mwai Kibaki to suspend the second senior most judge in the land, and to form a tribunal to investigate charges of misconduct levelled against her. In announcing the decision, CJ Willy “Cabral Pinto” Mutunga (he used to write his articles in the Saturday Nation under that name), said, inter alia (all the dailies of 14th January, 2012): “The JSC will send a petition to the President with a view of suspending Justice Baraza as judge of the Supreme Court and Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya and to appoint a tribunal to investigate her conduct.”

· But does Lady Justice Nancy Baraza’s case (trials and tribulations) provide Mutunga with an avenue to prove his seriousness as the President of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice? Kindly, please treat it as food for thought, and make up your mind. However, some of the things the CJ has done leave a lot to be desired: the Bungoma lawyers have been on strike since November, 2011, and the CJ has vowed not to act on the issue saying the lawyers disrespected him and called him names (Star, 11th January, 2012);

· In the early days of his appointment, he seemed to be concerned with fairly trivial issues; he had views on how judges should be addressed in court; issues on the horse-hair wigs that judges wore, et cetera. He seemed more concerned with the appearances of reform, than with the substance of it; on “the newly renovated” Milimani Courts, Mutunga called in the media to bear witness to how the Kenyan taxpayer had been robbed in this renovation contract;

· But Minister Chris Obure responded by rebuking the CJ for daring to comment on matters concerning areas in which he had no technical competence. In a nutshell, the CJ has engaged in juvenile judicial activism! And does Mutunga have the moral authority to lynch Baraza? NEVER! Kindly, please see our posting entitled “Did the Chief Justice Violate the Constitution?” dated 17th December, 2011. Chief Justice Willy Mutunga should have been the first one to go, not Lady Justice Nancy Baraza. Everything is in black and white. Alluta Continua.

Source: http://hardtalkkenya.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/of-rigging-using-diaspora-votes-and-judicial-activism/

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Kenyan Islamic group announces alliance with al-Shabab in climate of Nairobi terror warnings

Posted by Administrator on January 15, 2012

NAIROBI, Kenya — An increasingly vocal Islamist group says its leader has been appointed to represent an al-Qaida-linked Somali militia in Kenya, a development that underscores the dangers Kenya faces from Somalia’s insurgency.

The statement by the Kenya-based Muslim Youth Center came amid a flurry of warnings from embassies about planned terror attacks in Kenya. The Somali militant group al-Shabab has promised to attack Kenya for its decision to send troops to Somalia in October.

The Muslim Youth Center was named in a United Nations report last year for recruiting, fundraising, and running training and orientation events for al-Shabab. An official al-Shabab spokesman did not answer questions about whether the center now represents al-Shabab in Kenya, but a statement published on the center’s blog on Wednesday was unequivocal.

“There can be no doubt that Amiir Ahmad Iman Ali’s elevation to become the supreme Amiir of Kenya for al Shabaab is recognition from our Somali brothers who have fought tirelessly against the kuffar on the importance of the Kenyan mujahideen in Somalia,” the statement said. The word kuffar appears to be an alternative spelling of kafir, an Arabic word meaning “unbeliever.”

Ali was featured in combat fatigues giving a 50-minute lecture in a Jan. 6 video produced by al-Kataib, al-Shabab’s media foundation. He referred to wars in Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq and Chechnya. It was the first time an al-Kataib video was dedicated solely to his message, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors communications from jihadi groups.

“If you are unable to reach the land of jihad … then raise your sword against the enemy that is closest to you,” Ali said. “Jihad should be now be waged inside Kenya, which is legally a war zone.”

“You don’t have to get permission from your parents,” he added.

Al-Shabab threatened huge terror attacks in Kenya in October after Kenyan troops entered Somalia over concerns that insecurity from Somalia’s 21-year-old civil war was spilling over the border. The U.S. Embassy has put extra security measures into place and last week the British Embassy warned that a terror attack was being planned.

Ali, also known as Abdul Fatah of Kismayo, is a Kenyan who has been based in Somalia since 2009 and commands a force of 200 to 500 fighters, according to the July U.N. report. The report said that “he now intends to conduct large-scale attacks in Kenya, and possibly elsewhere in East Africa.”

Ali speaks fluent Swahili, English, Arabic and some Somali, according to a security official in Kenya. He has also studied Islamic teachings extensively and has two degrees. The official asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The official said that Ali wanted to be seen as Kenya’s answer to Anwar Al-Awlaki, an American cleric killed in Yemen last year by a U.S. missile strike.

A post on the group’s website purporting to be from Ali complained about impunity for Kenyan army officers who have killed Muslims, set up arbitrary police detentions and renditions — complaints also voiced by Kenyan and international human rights groups.

But Ali also warned in a statement rife with spelling errors: “The Muslim lands will once again rule with Shari’ah and your kufr democracy will be dumped in the seewage.”

Two other Kenyans in Somalia — nicknamed “Taxi Driver” and “General” have more battlefield experience that Ali, said the official, but could not match his religious education. They all maintained strong ties to four religious leaders in Kenya that are linked to al-Qaida, said the same official as above.

So far the Muslim Youth Center is the best-known of the Kenyan jihadi groups, said another analyst, but it remained one of several. The groups were not very coordinated and it was unclear the extent to which they were directed by al-Shabab. The analyst asked not be named because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Since its troops entered Somalia, Kenya has suffered more than a dozen grenade attacks. Four explosive devices targeting police have been planted in a northern refugee camp housing Somalis, and gunmen have also shot residents in northern Kenya towns. Somali fighters also raided a Kenyan police camp earlier this week, killing six people and kidnapping at least four.

But so far, there have not been any attacks causing major casualties — a source of some annoyance to senior al-Shabab leaders. Last year, a senior al-Shabab official in Somalia urged sympathizers in Kenya to “stop throwing grenades at buses” and make a “huge blast”.

The center’s use of its blog, the release of the al-Kataib video and a Twitter feed to proclaim its allegiance to al-Shabab could mean it was preparing for a big attack, the analyst said.

But, he added, it might also mean it was being used to mask the activities of other, less visible groups.


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