News and Views

Al-Shabaab kills dozens in Kenya bus attack

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Al-Shabaab militants from Somalia hijacked a bus in Kenya’s north and killed 28 non-Muslims on board after they had been separated out from the rest of the passengers, police officials said Saturday.

Two police officers said that the bus travelling to the capital Nairobi with 60 passengers was hijacked 31 miles from the town Mandera near Kenya’s border with Somalia. The officers insisted on anonymity out of fear of reprisals because of an order from Kenya’s police chief that officers should not speak to the media.

Some of the dead were public servants who were heading to the capital Nairobi for the Christmas holidays, the officers said.

Kenya has been hit by a series of gun and bomb attacks blamed on Somalia’s al-Qaida-linked al-Shabaab militants since it sent troops into Somalia in October 2011.

Authorities say there have been at least 135 attacks since then, including the Westgate Mall attack in which 67 people were killed. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the Westgate Mall attack in September 2013.

The terror group also said it was responsible for other attacks on Kenya’s coast earlier this year which left at least 90 people dead.

Kenyan troops are part of the African Union Mission in Somalia which is bolstering Somalia’s weak UN-backed government against the al-Shabaab insurgency.

Al-Shabaab has continued to carry out attacks on Somalia’s capital despite being pushed out of Mogadishu by African Union forces supporting the government in August 2011.

The Somali government troops backed by AU forces are making progress in capturing the remaining al-Shabaab strongholds. Recently, they captured the port town of Barawe.

Al-Shabaab was also dealt a heavy blow following the death of its leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, who was killed in early September in a US air strike. Godane has been replaced by Ahmed Omar, also known as Abu Ubeid.

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