Al-Shabaab militants kill 8 in Kenya bus attack

Several police officers were among at least 8 people killed in an Al-Shabaab group attack on a bus in northeast Kenya. (AFP)
Updated 07 December 2019

Al-Shabaab militants kill 8 in Kenya bus attack

  • Al-Shabaab released a statement taking responsibility for killing ‘10 crusaders among them secret security agents and government employees’

NAIROBI: Several police officers were among at least eight people killed in an attack on a bus in northeast Kenya claimed Saturday by the Somali Islamist Al-Shabaab group.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta had been briefed on the “brutal” murders of eight people, including police, during the attack in Wajir county, a presidential spokesperson said Saturday.
However, a senior police source said that the toll was 10 dead, seven of them police.
“We lost seven police officers in the bus attack,” the source said, asking not to be named.
“The total number of the people killed are 10. One was identified as a local doctor.”
A police statement released Friday evening gave no casualty toll, just noting that the bus, which linked the towns of Wajir and Mandera, came under attack about 17:30 local time (1430 GMT).
“Security forces are pursuing the killers,” the state house spokesperson said, adding, “the government will not relent in its ruthless crackdown on criminal elements including suspected terrorists in its solemn duty to safeguard the lives and property of Kenyans.”
The Shabaab released a statement taking responsibility for killing “10 crusaders among them secret security agents and government employees.”
The area where the attack took place borders Somalia, which is regularly the scene of Shabaab raids.
On June 15, at least eight police officers were killed in similar circumstances in Wajir county.
Home-made weapons and bombs have been used to kill dozens of police and soldiers in the northern and eastern border regions, where such attacks are relatively common.
Al-Qaeda affiliate Shabaab has been fighting for more than a decade to overthrow successive internationally-backed Somali governments and has previously resorted to direct attacks on road vehicles.
Kenya sent troops into southern Somalia in 2011, joining the regional peacekeeping force AMISOM that drove the Shabaab from Mogadishu.
The government has justified the incursion to protect Kenyans from Shabaab which, among other attacks, killed 21 people in Nairobi in January.
AMISOM includes troops from a number of African nations including Kenya, making security forces from the country a target for the militants.


Afghan assembly approves release of 400 ‘hard-core’ Taliban prisoners

Updated 1 min 11 sec ago

Afghan assembly approves release of 400 ‘hard-core’ Taliban prisoners

  • Some 3,200 Afghan community leaders and politicians gathered to advise the government on whether the prisoners should be freed
KABUL: Afghanistan’s grand assembly, or Loya Jirga, on Sunday approved the release of 400 “hard-core” Taliban prisoners, paving the way for the beginning of peace talks aimed at ending more than 19 years of war.
“In order to remove an obstacle, allow the start of the peace process and an end of bloodshed, the Loya Jirga approves the release of 400 Taliban,” the assembly said in a resolution.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had convened the assembly in the capital Kabul, where some 3,200 Afghan community leaders and politicians gathered amid tight security and concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic to advise the government on whether the prisoners should be freed.
The Taliban militants had insisted they be released as a condition for entering peace talks with the government. With the release, the Afghan government will fulfil its pledge to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners.
Western diplomats said talks between the warring parties will start in Doha this week.
Deliberation around the release of last batch of Taliban prisoners, accused of conducting some of the bloodiest attacks across Afghanistan, had triggered outrage among civilians and rights groups who questioned the morality of the peace process.
But ahead of November elections, US President Donald Trump is determined to fulfil a major campaign promise of ending America’s longest war.
The drawdown will bring the number of US troops to “a number less than 5,000” by the end of November, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in an interview broadcast on Saturday.
In a February pact allowing for the withdrawal of US troops, Washington and the Taliban agreed on the release of the Taliban prisoners as a condition for the talks with Kabul.