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Home Horn News Kenya The Islamist threat is back in Kenya

The Islamist threat is back in Kenya

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A decade after the terrorist attacks on Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Kenya and its US ally have once again come up against the threat from Islamist extremists.

The recent violent street demonstrations in Nairobi have revived fears of Islamist attacks in Kenya. These demonstrations were in solidarity with the Muslim extremist cleric from Jamaica, Abdullah al-Faisal whom the Kenyan government recently deported back to his country. George Saitoti, the Minister for Internal Security, himself admitted publicly that partisans of the Somalian group Al Shabaab, said to be linked to Al Qaeda, had played a role in these street protests and had succeeded in infiltrating the Muslim community in Kenya. So, the United States embassy in Nairobi asked the Kenyan government to put all the official and private buildings likely to be targets of Islamic terrorists under permanent surveillance. It also sent a note to the Kenyan ministry for foreign affairs expressing its concern about the security of American citizens present in the country and its fears that the Kenyan authorities were unable to control the border with Somalia. The United States could alter their "advice to travellers" to discourage their fellow citizens from visiting Kenya.

The Kenyan authorities have for some time been aware of the rising danger. They therefore created a special police unit in charge of surveillance of the most radical Islamic activists harbouring Al Qaeda partisans, frequently from Somalia. This unit, whose codename is Siafu (Safari in Swahili) works closely with the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS). Some NSIS executives consider that the chairman of the Muslim Human Rights Forum of Kenya, Al-Amin Kimathi, and the leader of an organisation of young Muslims based in Mombasa, Sheikh Abu Qatada know more than they let on about the way in which the Jamaican Muslim cleric arrived in Kenya and his schedule of meetings planned before he was deported.
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