MPEKETONI: Al-Shabaab Releases a Chilling New Video on Attacks
By Harar24′s Editorials team
The Somali Islamist group, Al-Shabaab, has today released a video on the July attacks in the Kenyan coastal towns of Mpeketoni and Poromoko, in Lamu county.
The attacks which took place on the 6and 7 July respectively claimed the lives of more than 60 people, terrified civilians and caused a major rift among Kenyan politicians. Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, blamed the attacks on local political networks, despite Sheikh Abdulaziz Abu Mus’ab, Al-Shabaab’s military spokesman, officially claiming responsibility.
“The attack in Lamu was well planned, orchestrated and politically motivated ethnic violence against the Kenyan community with the intention of profiling and evicting them for political reasons. This therefore, was not an Al-Shabaab terrorist attack,” said President Kenyatta. Evidence indicates that local political networks were involved in the planning and execution of the heinous crime,’ he added.
The town of Mpeketoni, around 100km from the Somali border, suffered the worst attacks. In the glossy 34-minute video that is widely circulating on the internet, Al-Shabaab fighters are shown killing non-Muslim Kenyans in the town and setting cars, houses and hotels ablaze. The fighters also storm Mpeketoni police station and set it on fire.
Going from street to street, the fighters – armed with light weapons and rocket-propelled grenades – are seen hunting down Kenyan police officers and civilians and slaying them after asking them questions about Islam. Muslims, having answered the questions correctly, are spared.
The video contains graphic depictions of executions as several men are forced to lie face down on the ground before being executed. Revenge, they say, for the crimes committed by the Kenyan government against the Muslims. In the village of Poromoko, more than a dozen civilians are forced to lie down and summarily executed.
The video, released in three languages –English, Arabic and Swahili – features both Kenyan and other foreign fighters. The fighters interrogating the civilians are distinctly of Kenyan origin, speaking a slang dialect of the Swahili language known as Sheng. The British-accented narrator declares that Al-Shabaab are “taking the war” to Kenya.
And while Mr. Kenyatta’s remarks on Mpeketoni were initially seen as a careful ploy to deflect attention from the security failings of his government, now Al-Shabaab – having released a video documentation of their massacre in Mpeketoni – insist that a ‘great transformation’ is taking place in East Africa and they are “reclaiming back Muslim lands under Kenyan occupation”. They send a chilling message to the Kenyan public:
“It’s the birth of a new dawn and a new era is on the horizon. And with the Mujahideen now making inroads into the occupied Muslim lands in Kenya and beyond, it is time to redraw the East African map,” says the narrator.
In Kenya, the video was met with varying levels of indignation, both at the perpetrators and the politicians. “We want the truth,” said Mr S Odhiambo, a Kenyan political analyst.
“The government lied to us after Westgate; they lied to us after Mpeketoni. Until when will they be playing politics with us? When will they realize that this is not a game of politics but that people’s lives are being lost? Kenyans are dying every day and all the politicians are doing is shift blame,” he added.
The attacks, which lasted several hours, raised security fears in Kenya and left a trail of damage in the coastal area as thousands of non-Muslims have fled their towns for fear of similar attacks. Al-Shabaab has already taken responsibility for a series of attacks in Kenya, from Mpeketoni to the attacks in border town of Mandera. Should they persist, such attacks would undoubtedly have a major impact on both the Kenyan economy and public in general.