Somali militants in Kenya incursion

At least 10 Shabaab rebel fighters were reportedly killed in heavy clashes with Kenyan security forces Aug. 21 after the Somali rebels crossed the border and attacked a military patrol. Local authorities in the town of Garissa, North Eastern state, said Shabaab fighters attacked a Kenyan border patrol with grenades, mortars and small arms, sparking a battle that lasted for nearly an hour, residents said. There was a similar incident last week, when Shabaab fighters raided a police post at Galmagala, in Garissa county's Fafi district, some 10 kilometers from Somalia's border, killing four officers and seizing weapons. (Garowe Online via AllAfrica, Aug. 22)

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  1. Shabaab behind Kenya mall massacre?
    It was the kind of attack more common in the US than Kenya, except for its sectarian component. A group of black-clad gunmen shoot up the upscale Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, leaving at least 11 dead. AP tells us the attack took place as a “children’s day event” was underway at the mall, although it doesn’t say if any of the casualties were children. The gunmen apparently taregted non-Muslims, giving Muslims the opportunity to leave before they started shooting people down—which raises the question of why everyone didn’t just pretend to be Muslim (apart from maybe a few Christian fanatics determined to die for the faith).

    An incredibly garbled BBC account tells us in the lead, “Eleven people have died in a gun battle inside a Nairobi shopping centre,” but it appears to have been a massacre, not a shoot-out. Only one of the gunmen is reported among the dead, and the rest seem to have been mall-goers. Worse, just two lines into the story, we are told “The Kenyan Red Cross says 30 died.” So is it 11 or 30? Worse still, we are told: “The Somali militant group al-Shabab has said it carried out the attack. On its Twitter feed, the al-Qaeda-linked group said it confirmed it was behind what it called the ‘Westgate spectacle’.” Yet just one line later, we get: “No group has said it carried out the attack.” How do you square that one, BBC? Hire some copy-editors please.

    1. Death toll 68 in Kenya mall massacre
      USA Today tells us that the new death toll in the Nairobi mall massacre is 68, and the crisis is not yet over, with the gunmen still holding hostages. Reuters helpfully adds: “Nairobi attack may trigger tighter security at malls worldwide.” Thanks, al-Shabab. All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall…