Al-Shabaab strikes again


During the night of 1 April 2015, four Al-Shabaab members crossed the border from Somalia to Kenya to attack the University in Garissa. The Al-Shabaab fighters  were armed and came into the university at night. They shot the two guards and entered the first building. In this building young (8-14 years) boys and girls were sleeping. During the attack, the attackers separated Muslims from Christians and shot dead those who did not subscribe to the same beliefs as them. One of the gunman was identified as the sun of a governmental official. 148 people died, included the four Al-Shabaab members.

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Insurgents terrorizing the WestGate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

This was not the first time Kenya suffers an attack from this terrorist group. Kenya has been a victim of terrorist attacks of Al-Shabaab, for example the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi in 2013 that took the lives of 67 people. It is been said that the reason Al-Shabaab is targeting Kenya  is because of the government’s decision in 2011. Decisions were made to provide troops to the African Union Mission (AMISOM) in Somalia.

This peacekeeping mission , which acts on three different components, (civilian, military and maritime) is created to establish peace and order. The military component was mainly created to root out Al-Shabaab from its strongholds in south and central Somalia. So far this operation has been very successful and pushed Al-Shabaab out of much of southern Somalia including major towns and cities. But the latest and most gruesome attack of Al-Shabaab was the University attack in Garissa on the second of April which took the lives of 148 people.

In its origins, Al-Shabaab, which is the Arabic translation of “youth”, was founded in 2004 and was a part of the Islamic Court Union until 2006. The ICU was a part of the sharia-courts that wanted to bring peace and order into Somalia by fighting the local warlords. In 2006 the ICU controlled most of Somalia and started fighting Ethiopia for more ground control. They lost this battle, and that is when Al-Shabaab split from the ICU.

The Harakat al-Shabaab al Mujahidin, or the faction known today as Al-Shabaab, was founded in 2006 in Mogadishu (Somalia), as a militant, terrorist group which mission is to turn Somalia into an Islamic state. It is estimated that this group contains an amount of members between 7.000 and 9.000 fighters.  This terrorist group is often linked to, and works closely with, the East-African Al Qaida cell which attacked US embassy’s in Tanzania and Kenya. Al-Shabaab is still trying to conquer Somalia and wants to turn this into an Islamic state which is based on the principles of the Koran.

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A classroom after in the Garissa University after the attack

On the 6th of April 2015, the Kenyan military launched airstrikes against Islamic extremists group Al-Shabaab in Somalia. This was the first response of Kenya after the attack in Garissa. Several days after this attack Al-Shabaab spread a  message into the media : “Kenyan cities will run red with blood.” The president of Kenya, Kenyatta, gave directly a response : “We will fight terrorism to the end. I guarantee that my administration shall respond in the fiercest way possible.”

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 The map of Kenya with it’s borders

After the attack in Garissa, the people of Kenya said they didn’t feel safe anymore in their country. Most of them lost faith in their government. ” Where was the government? They failed to protect their people,” a local high-school student told  Time. The people of Kenya belief that this attack could have been avoided if the government would not be corrupt. During Kenyatta’s speech he told the people that things will and have to change from now on. He doesn’t want to let the nation wait anymore. One of the first things he did to assure the safety of the Kenyans is a visible military presence from sunset to sunrise. He also directed the enrollment of 10 000 police recruits.The people hope that the corruption will stop taking over the higher institutions and that this problem will be solved as soon as possible.

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