By Jared Kleinman
Impunity Watch Reporter, Africa
NAIROBI, Kenya – Somalia’s hardline al Shabaab rebels threatened on Thursday to attack neighboring Kenya following a crackdown on Somalis in the capital Nairobi, according to a recording posted on an al Shabaab Website.
The six-minute clip posted on the al Shabaab website stated, “We have arrived at the border, we will enter Kenya, and Inshallah we will get to Nairobi… when we get there, we will fight, we will kill, because we have weapons, enough weapons.”
Islamist al Shabaab have threatened to attack Kenya before, although anger has been rising over the past week among the Somali community after Kenyan security forces detained hundreds of Somalis living in a Nairobi suburb. Kenya rounded up and arrested several hundred Somali immigrants and refugees living in a mostly Somali neighborhood. Earlier this month, Muslim protesters clashed with police after Friday prayers, leading to one death and extensive property damage.
The Kenyan police crackdown followed a violent protest in Nairobi against the detention of Jamaican Muslim cleric Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal, who was jailed in Britain for urging his audiences to kill Jews, Hindus and Westerners.
The website said the message had been composed by militants annoyed by Kenya’s decision to deport the cleric and the deaths of protesters last Friday. The chaotic demonstration resulted in the death of at least two people during nearly nine hours of mayhem in the heart of the capital. The security forces conducted raids on Somali-inhabited in the capital and other major cities in the country, leading to arrest of more than 700 people, mostly Somalis.
Many of the marchers were Somalis and some waved a black flag identified with al Shabaab, a group seen by Washington as al Qaeda’s proxy in the Horn of Africa nation.
Reclusive al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, also known as Sheik Mukhtar Abdirahman Abu Zubeyr, was introduced on the recording by the men chanting. He is believed to be in close contact with senior foreign members of al Shabaab. The man they introduced called on Muslims in several sub-Saharan African nations to wage jihad, or holy war, against “infidels” and to destroy their interests around the world.
“Our brothers in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda and Chad, you have a chance to join the jihad in the name of Allah. Don’t you know whoever does not join the jihad today, will never join?” the man said in Arabic. “If we live on or die, we are between two victories.”
For more information, please see:
CNN – Somali Rebel Group Threatens Kenya as Tension Mounts – 22 January 2010
Reuters – Somali Hardline Rebels Threaten Kenya Attack – 21 January 2010
Garowe Online – Al Shabaab Threaten to Attack Kenya Capital – 21 January 2010