Home Tags Posts tagged with "Kenya"

Kenya

0

On the last day of the first Giants Club summit, President Uhuru Kenyatta has set fire to a huge stockpile of ivory in an effort to show Kenya’s commitment to saving Africa’s elephants.

More than 100 tonnes of ivory was stacked up in pyres in Nairobi National Park where it is expected to burn for several days.

The ivory represents nearly the entire stock confiscated by Kenya, amounting to the tusks of about 6,700 elephants.

Some disagree with Kenya’s approach, saying it can encourage poaching.

Photo AP

Photo AP

Before igniting the first pyre, President Uhuru Kenyatta said: “The height of the pile of ivory before us marks the strength of our resolve.


“No-one, and I repeat no-one, has any business in trading in ivory, for this trade means death of our elephants and death of our natural heritage.”

The burning comes after African leaders meeting in Kenya urged an end to illegal trade in ivory.

Experts have warned Africa’s elephants could be extinct within decades.

However, some conservationists have expressed opposition to the ivory burn in Kenya, the biggest in history.

They say destroying so much of a rare commodity could increase its value and encourage more poaching rather than less.

Botswana, which is home to about half of Africa’s elephants, is opposed to the burn and its president did not attend the event in Nairobi.

Demand for ivory comes largely from Asia, with the main trafficking route being through the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

Africa is home to between 450,000 and 500,000 elephants but more than 30,000 are killed every year for their tusks. Tanzania has lost 65% of its elephant population in the past five years.

The Kenyan ivory pyres are seven times the size of any stockpile destruction so far, and represent about 5% of global ivory stores.

Some 1.35 tonnes of rhino horn will also be burned.

The street value of the ivory to be destroyed is estimated at more than $100 million, and the rhino horn at $80 million.

0

The Giants Club is holding its inaugural summit in Laikipia, Kenya, from April 29 to April 30, to discuss how to save Africa’s elephants from extinction.

The exclusive forum brings together African Heads of State, global business leaders and elephant protection experts to secure Africa’s remaining elephant populations and the landscapes they depend on.

The summit will be led by the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

As well as heads of state, the conservation group will bring together business leaders and scientists.First Giants Club summit 2016

The Giants Club was founded by President Uhuru Kenyatta with the presidents of Botswana, Gabon, Kenya and Uganda, with support from Space for Giants and its patron, Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of The Independent and London Evening Standard newspapers. The body was formed to combat the poaching crisis by bringing together visionary leaders who can work together to provide the political will, financial resources and technical capacity required to protect Africa’s remaining elephant populations.

The summit is to be staged at Mount Kenya Safari Club. Delegates will also be invited to visit local conservation projects to see practical examples of Kenya’s leadership in the area of wildlife protection. Attendance is by invitation only.

According to experts, Africa’s elephant population has fallen by 90% over the past century. They warn that the animal could be extinct within decades.

After the summit, Kenya will set fire to nearly its entire confiscated stock of ivory, 105 tonnes, equivalent to the tusks of more than 6,700 elephants.

The ivory has been piled into a dozen giant pyres, which will be lit by dignitaries at the summit.

The mass burning on April 30 will be seven times the size of any stockpile destruction so far, and represents about 5% of global ivory stores.

Some 1.35 tonnes of rhino horn will also be burned.

The street value of the ivory destroyed is estimated at more than $100 million, and the rhino horn at $80 million.

Kitili Mbathi, director general of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), said: “We don’t believe there is any intrinsic value in ivory, and therefore we’re going to burn all our stockpiles and demonstrate to the world that ivory is only valuable on elephants.”

Africa is home to between 450,000 to 500,000 elephants, but more than 30,000 are killed every year for their tusks.

The world’s oldest stone tools were unearthed from the shores of Lake Turkana in Kenya, scientists say.

The tools date to 3.3 million years ago.

They are 700,000 years older than any tools found before, even pre-dating the earliest humans in the Homo genus.

The find, reported in Nature, suggests that more ancient species, such as Australopithecus afarensis or Kenyanthropus platyops, may have been more sophisticated than was thought.

“They are significantly earlier than anything that has been found previously,” said Dr. Nick Taylor, from the National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS) in France and the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.

“It’s really quite astonishing to think what separates the previous oldest site and this site is 700,000 years of time. It’s monumental.”Oldest stone tools Kenya

The first tools from the site, which is called Lomekwi 3, were discovered in 2011. They were spotted after researchers took a wrong turn as they walked through the hot, dry Kenyan landscape.

By the end of 2012, a total of 149 tools had been found, and another field trip in 2014 has unearthed more still.

They include sharp flakes of stone, sheared off from larger rocks, which were most likely used for cutting.

Hammers and anvils were also excavated, some of which were huge in size.

Dating of the volcanic ash and minerals around the tools suggests that they are 3.3 million years old.

Until this discovery, the oldest examples of this technology were the Oldowan tools from Tanzania, which date to about 2.6 million years ago.

The researchers say the 700,000-year time difference reveals how manufacturing methods and use changed over time, growing more advanced.

The scientists do not know who made the tools discovered in Kenya.

Until now, some thought that Homo habilis – known as “handy man” – was the earliest of our ancestors in the Homo genus to use tools.

But with Homo fossils dating back to only 2.4-2.3 million years ago, it now seems unlikely that this was the first toolmaker.

Other finds, such as animal bones found in Ethiopia with cut marks that date to 3.39 million years ago, also suggest tool use began before Homo habilis.

Scientists now believe the 3.3-million-year-old implements were crafted by another, more primitive species.

Dr. Nick Taylor said: “There are a number of possible candidates at present.

“There was a hominin called Kenyanthropus platyops, which has been found very close to where the Lomekwi 3 tools are being excavated. And that hominin was around at the time the tools were being made.

“More widely in the East African region there is another hominin, Australopithecus afarensis, which is famously known from the fossil Lucy, which is another candidate.”

Neither of these species was assumed to be particularly intelligent – they had both human and ape-like features, with relatively small brains.

However the tools suggest they may have been smarter than assumed.

Former President Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea went to a No Ceilings Conversation held at the Farasi Lane School in Mitini, Nairobi, Kenya on Friday, May 1st.

The Farasi Lane School is part of a CGI Commitment to Action, CHARGE – Collaborative for Harnessing Ambition and Resources for Girls’ Education.

Photo Clinton Foundation

Photo Clinton Foundation

CHARGE is a collaboration of more than 30 companies, civil society organizations, multilaterals and governments to improve learning and leadership opportunities for young women and girls.

After touring the school with the principal and seeing a lesson by a teacher, the former president and his daughter visited the school’s garden with two students and heard about the different kinds of plants, herbs, and fruits that they grow.

Earlier this week, Chelsea Clinton and her former president father landed in Tanzania, where they began their nine-day African tour, which will also take them to Liberia and Morocco after Kenya.

Kenyan fighter jets have targeted al-Shabab camps in neighboring Somalia in response to Garissa University attack.

The warplanes had bombed two camps in Gondodowe and Ismail, both in the Gedo region, used by al-Shabab to cross into Kenya, military sources say.

This is Kenya’s first response to an al-Shabab assault which left 148 people dead at Garissa University last week.Kenya Garissa massacre

President Uhuru Kenyatta had vowed to respond to the attack “in the severest way possible”.

Al-Shabab said the assault in Garissa, which is 120 miles from the Somali border, was revenge for Kenya sending troops into Somalia to fight alongside African Union peacekeepers against the group.

The Islamist group, which at one point controlled most of Somalia, has lost swaths of territory in recent years but diplomats have repeatedly warned this has not diminished its ability to stage guerrilla-style attacks at home and abroad.

[youtube 6Fi5galNQmo 650]

Masked gunmen have stormed Kenya’s Garissa University College near the Somali border, killing at least two people and injuring about 30.

Troops have surrounded the university and are engaging the attackers.

Witnesses spoke of the gunmen firing indiscriminately and there are fears the casualty toll could rise.

It is not clear who is behind the attack, but Somali al-Shabab militants have regularly targeted Kenya.

Garissa and other border areas have been regularly attacked.

Some five masked gunmen are said to have stormed the university. There are reports that hostages have been taken.

Kenyan police said the gunmen shot guards at the main gate at about 05:30 local time.Somali al-Shabab militants suspected to be involved in Garissa University attack in Kenya

Nearby policemen then engaged in a fierce exchange of fire and the gunmen escaped into the university buildings.

Security forces were now trying to “flush them out”, a police statement said. It urged people to stay away from the area.

Two guards were confirmed killed at the main university gate, with two policemen and a student among the injured. But eyewitnesses spoke of many casualties inside the building.

The gunmen reportedly ordered students to lie down on the floor, but at least 27 are known to have escaped and are at a military facility.

Kenyan Red Cross spokeswoman Arnolda Shiundu said there were about 30 casualties, four of whom were critical.

Three people – two soldiers and a civilian – had been airlifted to the capital, Nairobi, Arnolda Shiundu said.

The university opened in 2011 and is the only place of higher education in the region. It has some 900 students, 700 of them from other parts of Kenya.

Garissa, 90 miles from the border with Somalia, has a large population of Kenyan Somalis.

Al-Shabab has carried out a number of attacks in Kenya since 2011, when Kenyan troops were sent to Somalia to help fight the militant group there.

The deadliest attack targeted the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi in September 2013, when 67 people were killed.

Al-Shabab is fighting to create an Islamic state in Somalia and is banned as a terrorist group by both the US and Western Europe.

[youtube T8wKKRRgvwI 650]

Charges of crimes against humanity against Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta have been withdrawn by prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

Uhuru Kenyatta had been indicted in connection with post-election ethnic violence in 2007-2008, in which 1,200 people died.

The president, who had denied the charges, said he felt “vindicated”.

The prosecutor’s office said the Kenyan government had refused to hand over evidence vital to the case.

Uhuru Kenyatta said he was “excited” and “relieved” at the dropping of charges.

“My conscience is absolutely clear,” he said, adding that his case had been “rushed there without proper investigation”.

Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said her government would try to have two other similar cases thrown out including one involving Deputy President William Ruto.

“As they say, one case down, two more to go,” Uhuru Kenyatta said on Twitter.

Photo AP

Photo AP

On December 3, the ICC had given prosecutors a week to decide whether to pursue their case against Uhuru Kenyatta or withdraw charges.

Further delays in the case would be “contrary to the interests of justice”, it had said.

On December 5, prosecutors said the evidence had “not improved to such an extent that Uhuru Kenyatta’s alleged criminal responsibility can be proven beyond reasonable doubt”.

Many observers had seen the case against Uhuru Kenyatta as the biggest test in the court’s history.

He was the first head of state to appear before the court, after he was charged in 2012.

The prosecution repeatedly asked for more time to build its case, saying witnesses had been bribed and intimidated, and the Kenyan government had refused to hand over documents vital to the case.

Human Rights Watch had accused the Kenyan government of acting as a roadblock and “impairing the search for truth”.

Uhuru Kenyatta denied inciting ethnic violence following the disputed 2007 elections in order to secure victory for then-President Mwai Kibaki.

He has repeatedly accused the ICC of pursuing a political prosecution.

On December 5, Uhuru Kenyatta again criticized the legal process, saying: “The prosecutor opted to selectively pursue cases in a blatantly biased manner that served vested interests and undermined justice.

“As a result, the court has had to pay a steep reputational price, which it will continue to face unless a serious and systemic rethinking of the international justice framework is undertaken.”

Uhuru Kenyatta won Kenya’s presidential elections in 2013, with the backing of Mwai Kibaki.

[youtube M4rYUjBdKUs 650]

Thirty six people, mostly Christian quarry workers, have been killed by al-Shabab militants near the north Kenyan town of Mandera.

The attackers from the Somalia-based Islamist militant group separated Muslims from non-Muslims and shot the Christians dead, residents said.

Earlier, one person was killed in a bar popular with non-Muslims in a neighboring district.

Al-Shabab killed 28 people in an attack on a bus targeting non-Muslims in the same area last week.

The attack on the quarry workers took place early on December 2. Witnesses said the victims were caught after midnight, while sleeping in their tents at the quarry.Al Shabab Kenya

The attack took place in Kormey, 9 miles from Mandera town.

Al-Shabab said it carried out the attack.

Kenya’s Red Cross said on its Twitter feed that security personnel and one of its own teams were on the ground at the site of the attack.

In the attack on a bar in the town of Wajir earlier on Monday night, gunmen reportedly opened fire and hurled grenades, killing one and injuring 12.

Mandera County borders both Somalia and Ethiopia, and it is dominated by Somalis, who are largely Muslims.

Many of the quarry workers killed are reported to have come from the south of the country where Christians predominate.

Al-Shabab has stepped up its campaign in Kenya since 2011, when Kenya sent troops across the border to help battle the militants.

Al-Shabab militants have confirmed that they have attacked a bus in northern Kenya, killing 28 people.

The bus was travelling to Nairobi when it was stopped in Mandera county, not far from the Somali border.

The Somali gunmen separated out non-Muslims by asking passengers to read from the Koran, officials and witnesses said. Those who failed were then shot in the head.

Al-Shabab has carried out a series of attacks in Kenya since 2011.

A statement on a website linked to the Islamist group carried a statement saying the attack was carried out in retaliation for security raids on mosques in the coastal city of Mombasa earlier this week.

Kenyan interior ministry said on its Twitter feed that a camp belonging to the attackers had been destroyed by Kenyan military helicopters and jets, with “many killed”.

More than 60 passengers were on the bus when it was attacked, before dawn on November 22, about 19 miles from Mandera town.

The driver tried to accelerate away, but the vehicle became stuck in mud caused by recent heavy rains.

About 10 heavily armed men talking Somali ordered the passengers off the bus.

Kenya’s Red Cross said emergency workers were trying to retrieve bodies from the scene.

Security agencies were “in pursuit of the criminal gang” that carried out the attack, the interior ministry said. It described the assailants as “bandits”.

A local official quoted by Kenyan media said the government had failed to answer their pleas for extra security.

The attack comes after a week of heightened tension in Mombasa, which has suffered a series of al-Shabab attacks.

Security forces raided mosques in the city, saying they were being used to store weapons. The raids triggered apparent revenge attacks by Muslim youths.

Kenya has experience a series of al-Shabab attacks since it sent troops to Somalia three years ago to help fight the militant group.

Mandera, a remote area in Kenya’s north-east that shares a long and porous border with Somalia, has been one of the regions worst-affected by the violence.

On the Somali side of the border, al-Shabab is said to have a base that was recently bombed by Kenyan warplanes. It was not immediately clear whether this was the same base targeted by Kenya following Saturday’s attack.

[youtube dy4QeQb7KYc 650]

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has confirmed during a speech in front of the parliament that he will be appearing at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on October 8.

Uhuru Kenyatta told parliament that his deputy, William Ruto, would be in charge during his absence.

The president faces charges of organizing ethnic massacres that killed 1,200 people after the 2007 elections – something he denies.

The October 8 hearing is due to set a date for his trial to begin.

The ICC had summoned Uhuru Kenyatta to appear to explain allegations that evidence against him had been withheld.

In September, the court postponed the trial after prosecutors said the Kenyan government had failed to deliver key documents. Witnesses for the prosecution have withdrawn from the case.

Dozens of Kenyan lawmakers are expected to travel to The Hague to back Uhuru Kenyatta at the status hearing.

Uhuru Kenyatta said he would be going to The Hague in a personal capacity – not as president – so as not to compromise the sovereignty of Kenya’s 40 million people.

“To protect the sovereignty of the Kenyan republic, I now take the extraordinary and unprecedented step of evoking article 1473 of the constitution and I will shortly issue the legal notice necessary to appoint honourable William Ruto, the deputy president, as acting president while I attend the status conference at The Hague in the Netherlands,” he said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has confirmed during a speech in front of the parliament that he will be appearing at the ICC in The Hague on October 8

President Uhuru Kenyatta has confirmed during a speech in front of the parliament that he will be appearing at the ICC in The Hague on October 8

Uhuru Kenyatta again stressed his innocence: “I wish to reiterate here for all that my conscience is clear, has been clear and will remain forever clear that I am innocent of all the accusations that have been leveled against me.

“After all this, the prosecutor of the ICC has since last December and as recently as last month, admitted to the judges that the available evidence is insufficient to prove alleged criminal responsibility beyond reasonable doubt.”

There had been growing doubts as to whether Uhuru Kenyatta would become the first sitting president to attend the court. He had already been to the ICC before becoming president in 2013.

Uhuru Kenyatta was a close ally of President Mwai Kibaki, who was declared the winner of the 2007 election. Mwai Kibaki’s rival, Raila Odinga, claimed the poll was marred by fraud.

The dispute took on an ethnic dimension, pitting members of the Kikuyu ethnic group of Uhuru Kenyatta and Mwai Kibaki against other communities. Uhuru Kenyatta is accused of organising an ethnic Kikuyu gang, the Mungiki sect, to attack rival groups.

Uhuru Kenyatta faces five charges relating to the ethnic massacres – the worst violence in Kenya since independence in 1963. Tens of thousands of people were displaced and Kenya’s reputation for stability was tarnished.

Vice-President WSilliam Ruto also faces charges at The Hague, but he was on Raila Odinga’s side during the violence. He also denies the charges.

[youtube sWfRHPVxeAw 650]

Kenya is closing its borders to travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in response to the deadly Ebola outbreak.

The health secretary said Kenyans and medical workers flying in from those states would still be allowed in.

Kenyan Airways says it will stop flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone when the ban comes in on Wednesday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says Kenya is at “high risk” from Ebola because it is a major transport hub.

The epidemic began in Guinea in February and has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

On Friday, the death toll rose to 1,145 after the WHO said 76 new deaths had been reported in the two days to August 13. There have been 2,127 cases reported in total.

Earlier, Kenya’s health ministry said four suspected cases of Ebola in the country had tested negative for the virus.

The cases had involved a Liberian national and two Nigerians who had recently travelled to Kenya as well as a Zimbabwean.

Kenya is closing its borders to travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in response to the deadly Ebola outbreak

Kenya is closing its borders to travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in response to the deadly Ebola outbreak

Kenya Airways said it had decided to cancel flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone’s capitals after advice from Kenya’s government.

It said all passengers booked on the suspended flights would get a full refund.

Kenya Airways said its flights to Nigeria were not affected by the suspension.

Announcing the government’s decision, Kenyan Health Minister James Macharia said it was “in the interest of public health”.

James Macharia warned that Kenyans and health workers who had returned from the three west African states would face “strict checks” and would be quarantined if necessary.

On Friday, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said the Ebola outbreak would take at least six months to bring under control.

MSF President Joanne Liu said the situation was “deteriorating faster, and moving faster, than we can respond to”.

The WHO also admitted that the scale of the outbreak appeared to be “vastly underestimated” and said “extraordinary measures” were needed to contain it.

The Ebola disease is transmitted by direct contact with the body fluids of a person who is infected.

Initial flu-like symptoms can lead to external hemorrhaging from areas such as eyes and gums, and internal bleeding which can lead to organ failure.

The WHO says the risk of transmission of Ebola during air travel remains low.

[youtube 5egWQUPH-pk 650]

Two deadly shootings have been reported in Kenya’s coastal district of Lamu, the scene of several attacks claimed by Islamic militants this year.

Houses have been set alight in Hindi, near Mpeketoni, and a police station has been attacked at Gamba.

According to the Kenyan Red Cross, 13 people had been killed in the two incidents.

The Somali militant Islamist group al-Shabab has previously mounted a number of attacks in the region.

Two deadly shootings have been reported in Kenya's coastal district of Lamu

Two deadly shootings have been reported in Kenya’s coastal district of Lamu

However, it was not immediately clear who was responsible for the latest shooting.

Witnesses said about a dozen armed men had appeared in the trading centre in Hindi, Lamu County, late on Saturday evening and opened fire.

“They went around shooting at people and villages indiscriminately,” area chief Abdallah Shahasi told Reuters.

County commissioner Miiri Njenga told the agency some government offices and properties had been burned down.

The Red Cross said another nine people – eight civilians and one police officer – were killed in Gamba, and one person was also missing.

There were few further details of the attacks – the Kenya National Disaster Operation Centre said confirmed the violence and said on Twitter that it was responding.

Attacks in the Lamu area early last month killed at least 60 people, as gunmen descended on hotels and a police station.

The area includes Lamu island, a well-known tourist resort, however, the attacks happened on the mainland, in Lamu County.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has blamed the attacks on political networks, despite al-Shabab claiming responsibility.

At least 15 people have been killed in a new attack by Somalia’s Islamist militants near Mpeketoni in Kenya.

Local police say the gunmen raided two villages overnight.

Somalia’s al-Shabab group said it had carried out the attack, telling Reuters that its “operations in Kenya will continue”.

At least 48 people died after the al-Qaeda-linked group attacked hotels and a police station in the town on Sunday.

Al-Shabab said it was revenge for the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia and the killing of Muslims.

Somalia's al-Shabab group has claimed the recent attacks on Kenyan town of Mpeketoni

Somalia’s al-Shabab group has claimed the recent attacks on Kenyan town of Mpeketoni

Kenya sent troops to Somalia in 2011 to help the weak UN-backed government defeat the militants.

“We raided villages around Mpeketoni again last night,” al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters on Tuesday.

He was later quoted by the AFP as saying that the militants “have been going to several places looking for military personnel”. He said most of those killed were police officers and wildlife wardens.

Kenyan police said that the gunmen raided two villages in the Poromoko district near Mpeketoni.

The authorities said the militants jammed a telecommunication system before the killings to prevent villagers from sounding the alarm.

In Sunday’s attack, al-Shabab appeared to target men, in many cases leaving their wives and children unharmed.

Mpeketoni, near Lamu Island, is not a tourist resort. It appears the attackers were not interested in foreigners or their interests, our correspondent says.

After last year’s Westgate attack in Nairobi – al-Shabab’s most deadly raid in Kenya – the group received a lot of criticism for killing women and children.

Kenya has been on high alert recently following warnings that al-Shabab was planning more attacks.

[youtube 0sqlTKZdkcw 650]

Unidentified gunmen attacked hotels and a police station in Kenyan town of Mpeketoni killing at least 48 people, officials say.

Witnesses in Mpeketoni said gun battles lasted for several hours and reported seeing buildings set on fire.

The town is on the mainland near Lamu island, a well-known tourist resort.

Kenya has suffered numerous militant attacks since 2011 when its forces entered neighboring Somalia to combat the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group.

Unidentified gunmen attacked hotels and a police station in Kenyan town of Mpeketoni killing at least 48 people

Unidentified gunmen attacked hotels and a police station in Kenyan town of Mpeketoni killing at least 48 people

This is the most deadly attack in Kenya since at least 67 people were killed during a siege by al-Shabab fighters at Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre last September.

Kenyan army spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir said the attackers were “likely to be al-Shabab”, but the group has not yet commented.

Other unconfirmed reports said the raid was linked to a land dispute between rival communities in the remote area.

Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku described the attackers as bandits, and said they had crossed a “red line”.

“I want to assure Kenyans that the perpetrators of this heinous act will be pursued to face the full force of the law,” he said at a news conference.

Police fought fierce battles with the gunmen, who fled into a nearby forest, Joseph Ole Lenku said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta earlier summoned Joseph Ole Lenku and police chief David Kimaiyo to discuss the security situation.

The attack started at 20:30 local time on Sunday as locals were watching a football World Cup match on television.

All those killed are believed to be locals. The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) says no foreigners were in the town at the time of the attack.

Witnesses said gunmen, who had their faces covered, threw explosives into the local police station before entering and stealing weapons.

Kenya has been on high alert recently following warnings that al-Shabab was planning more attacks.

[youtube nCoe6uEcBHg 650]

Two blasts in the Kenyan capital Nairobi has killed at least 10 people and injured scores more.

Police said two improvised explosive devices had been detonated in the sprawling Gikomba market.

Meanwhile hundreds of UK tourists were evacuated from the coastal resort area of Mombasa amid warnings of an attack.

In recent years, Kenya has been hit by a spate of attacks, mostly been blamed on the al-Shabab militant Islamist group from neighboring Somalia.

The Kenyan National Disaster Operation Centre said the first explosion occurred in a minibus, the second in the large open-air Gikomba market.

Two people were reportedly arrested near the scene of the explosions.

Police said two improvised explosive devices had been detonated in the sprawling Gikomba market

Police said two improvised explosive devices had been detonated in the sprawling Gikomba market

Pictures from the scene showed clothing blown onto telephone wires above.

Fire engines and the Red Cross were at the scene tending the injured.

Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi said at least 70 people had been wounded.

“Many of the injured are bleeding profusely. We need a lot of blood,” a spokesman said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to fight “evil” terrorism following the attacks.

“All of us around the world must be united to ensure that we are able to fight this particular terror,” he said at a news conference.

Earlier this week, authorities tightened security at bus stations. They also ordered all vehicles to have clear glass windows.

Friday’s bombings took place two days after the UK, France and the US warned there was a high threat of attacks in Kenya.

Kenya had criticized the warnings, saying the tourism industry would be affected.

Correspondents say many Kenyans are expressing their frustration at the worsening insecurity.

The government recently rounded up refugees of Somali origin in an attempt to rid Nairobi of militants they believe to be hiding among refugees.

[youtube Op52f84pHjg 650]

Two explosions have killed three people and wounded several others in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa, police say.

In the deadliest attack, a grenade was reportedly thrown in a bus that had just arrived from Nairobi.

The other blast happened at a bar near a hotel in the Nyali beach area. There are no reports of casualties there.

Kenya has been hit by a spate of attacks blamed by the government on Somali Islamist militants.

Kenya has been hit by a spate of attacks blamed by the government on Somali Islamist militants

Kenya has been hit by a spate of attacks blamed by the government on Somali Islamist militants (photo EMPICS)

The al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabab has carried out several attacks in Kenya since 2011, when Kenya sent troops into Somalia to battle it.

No-one has yet claimed responsibility for Saturday’s blasts.

The first blast is believed to have occurred after a grenade was thrown in a Nairobi-Mombasa bus that had just arrived in the busy Mwembe Tayari transport terminal, killing three people and wounding at least four others.

The second explosion took place at a beach bar near the Nayali Reef Hotel, after a device was left in a plastic bag in the washroom.

It is thought that a third attack was planned for a nearby cinema complex but was unsuccessful.

All three incidents happened within minutes of each other.

Tensions have been rising in Mombasa in recent months, with authorities accusing Islamists of radicalizing local youths.

Al-Shabab was blamed for an attack on a church in Mombasa in March that killed six people.

Shortly afterwards, a radical Muslim cleric alleged to have acted as a recruiter for al-Shabab was shot dead near Mombasa, prompting riots in the city.

[youtube 6BUvx2rQL-M 650]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed into law a bill legalizing polygamy in Kenya.

The new bill brings civil law, where a man was only allowed one wife, into line with customary law, where some cultures allow multiple partners.

Controversy surrounded an amendment to the bill, supported by many male lawmakers, allowing men to take more wives without consulting existing spouses.

Traditionally, first wives are supposed to give prior approval.

Last month, female lawmakers walked out of parliament in disgust after their male counterparts voted through the amendment.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed into law a bill legalizing polygamy in Kenya

President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed into law a bill legalizing polygamy in Kenya

They argued that a decision to take on another wife would affect the whole family, including the financial position of other spouses.

The bill was also opposed by Christian leaders who urged the president not to sign it into law, saying it undermined Christian principles of marriage and family.

“The tone of that bill, if it becomes law, would be demeaning to women since it does not respect the principle of equality of spouses in the institution of marriage,” Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki, from the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), was quoted by Kenya’s Standard newspaper as saying.

The marriage legislation has been under discussion for several years and some initial proposals were scrapped at committee stages.

It has abolished the practice of unofficial traditional marriages which were never registered and could be ended without any legal divorce proceedings.

But plans to ban the payment of bride prices were dropped – although a person must be 18 to marry and this now applies to all cultures.

Lawmakers did reject the committee amendment which said a woman should only be entitled to 30% of matrimonial property after death or divorce.

The law now allows for equal property and inheritance rights – previously a woman had to prove her contribution to the couple’s wealth.

It also stipulates that a wife is entitled to an equal share of whatever the couple acquired during their marriage but in the case of multiple partners it is going to be difficult to determine what each spouse is entitled to if one of them divorces or their husband dies.

There had also been a proposal to recognize co-habiting couples, known in Kenya as “come-we-stay” relationships, after six months, but this too was dropped.

It would have allowed a woman to seek maintenance for herself and any children of the union, had the man left.

[youtube kZhibz_a3zY 650]

[youtube 2AD5LfxJi0Y 650]

Six people have been killed and several others were wounded in two explosions in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, officials say.

The attack took place in the Eastleigh suburb of the city.

Eastleigh is known as “Little Mogadishu” because of its large Somali population.

Eyewitnesses said devices appeared to have been thrown towards a bus stop and a food kiosk as people made their way home for the evening.

Kenya’s Standard newspaper said that the twin blasts went off some 165ft apart on 11th Street, and some of those caught up in the attack had serious injuries.

“We suspect it is a grenade,” a local police officer told AFP.

Six people have been killed and several others were wounded in two explosions in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi

Six people have been killed and several others were wounded in two explosions in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi (photo Reuters)

Eastleigh has seen several recent grenade attacks, including one in December last year that killed four people.

A week ago six people died when assailants burst into a church near the Kenyan port of Mombasa and opened fire on worshippers.

Kenya’s government has ordered all Somali refugees living in towns to move into designated camps in a bid to end the attacks.

Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said the directive had been issued because of the “emergency security challenges” facing Kenya. A refugee group condemned the decision as illegal.

Kenya has several thousand troops in Somalia, helping the UN-backed government tackle al-Shabab, who are linked to al-Qaeda.

Although no group said it was behind the latest attack, many are blaming it on the Somali militant group al-Shabab.

Four members of the group were behind the four-day siege at a shopping centre in Nairobi last September, in which 67 people died.

The militants had stayed in Eastleigh before launching the attack.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has said Kenya’s tourism sector is “on its knees” because of the threat from Islamist militants.

Uhuru Kenyatta met ethnic Somali leaders last week to ask for their help in identifying people they thought may be behind recent attacks in the capital.

[youtube Sjw6hmiLLwY 650]

Four men have been charged over Nairobi’s Westgate mall attack, in which more than 60 people were killed, police say.

The four foreigners have been charged with aiding terrorist groups in Kenya and being in Kenya illegally.

Their nationalities have not been disclosed, but they are said to be ethnic Somalis.

These are the first charges to be brought in relation to the September siege.

Four men have been charged over Nairobi’s Westgate mall attack, in which more than 60 people were killed

Four men have been charged over Nairobi’s Westgate mall attack, in which more than 60 people were killed

The four have been named as Adnan Ibrahim, Liban Abdullah, Mohammed Ahmed Abdi and Hussein Hassan.

“The accused persons carried out a terrorist attack at Westgate Shopping Mall on 21 September by supporting a terrorist group,” the charge sheet read.

All four men have pleaded not guilty to the charges, which also included obtaining false identification documents.

None of them is accused of being the gunmen in Westgate shopping centre.

[youtube uMCf_8Lrnuk 650]

0

Two soldiers have been sacked and jailed for looting during last month’s attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre, Kenyan army chief Julius Karangi has said.

Julius Karangi said that a third soldier was under investigation.

He has previously said that soldiers had only taken water during the four-day siege, despite CCTV footage seeming to show them helping themselves to goods in a supermarket.

Somali Islamist group al-Shabab says it was behind the attack, which killed 67.

Two soldiers have been sacked and jailed for looting during last month's attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre

Two soldiers have been sacked and jailed for looting during last month’s attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre

At the same news conference, Police Criminal Investigation Department head Ndegwa Muhoro said that a phone call had been made to Norway during the siege.

One of the suspected attackers has been named as 23-year-old Somalia-born Norwegian national, Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow.

The Kenyan army has said that all four of the attackers died.

Ndegwa Muhoro said that Interpol was helping to analyse the bodies to confirm their identities, reports the AFP news agency.

Officials had initially said there were 10-15 attackers.

Ndegwa Muhoro said that five other people were in detention over the attack and would be charged soon.

Several shop-owners have said that their premises were looted during the siege.

[youtube xuDeRnCEeY4 650]

Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow has been identified as the Norwegian suspect in Kenya’s Westgate shopping centre attack, the BBC revealed.

Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow, 23, is a Norwegian citizen of Somali origin and he is suspected of helping to plan and carry out the attack.

At least 67 people died in the attack in Nairobi, which the al-Qaeda linked group al-Shabab says it carried out.

Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow has been identified as the Norwegian suspect in Kenya's Westgate shopping centre attack

Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow has been identified as the Norwegian suspect in Kenya’s Westgate shopping centre attack

Last week Norway’s intelligence agency, the PST, said it had sent officers to Kenya to verify reports that a Norwegian citizen had been involved in the assault on the shopping centre, which began on Saturday September 21 and lasted four days.

It is unclear how many militants were involved. Police had initially estimated that there were 10-15 attackers inside the complex, but the CCTV footage which has so far been released by the Kenyan authorities shows just four men.

Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow is believed to be one of those four.

Forensic investigators are still combing through the rubble of Westgate – no bodies have yet been identified and it is not known whether the attackers are alive or dead.

Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow was born in Somalia, but he and his family moved to Norway as refugees in 1999.

[youtube Los42tdwpWk 650]

A deferral of The Hague trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta – due to start in November – has been demanded at the African Union summit in Ethiopia.

The AU also agreed a resolution stating no sitting African head of state should appear before an international court.

With both Kenyan and Sudanese presidents facing ICC cases, African leaders have long complained that the court unfairly targets them.

The AU had discussed withdrawing from the ICC, but failed to get support.

Senior figures including Kofi Annan have criticized plans to quit the ICC.

The AU leaders, meeting in Addis Ababa, agreed to back immunity for any sitting African head of state.

They also asked Kenya to write to the UN Security Council seeking a deferral in the International Criminal Court (ICC) case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who faces charges of crimes against humanity.

Both he and his deputy, William Ruto, deny charges of organizing violence after the 2007 election.

While William Ruto went on trial in September, President Kenyatta has repeatedly requested his trial – due next month – be postponed.

African states want the ICC to withdraw the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta

African states want the ICC to withdraw the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta

Addressing the summit, Uhuru Kenyatta accused the court of bias and “race-hunting”, AFP reports.

“The ICC has been reduced into a painfully farcical pantomime, a travesty that adds insult to the injury of victims. It stopped being the home of justice the day it became the toy of declining imperial powers.”

Ethiopian PM and AU chairman Hailemariam Dessalegn said the summit was not a crusade against the ICC but a call for the court to address Africa’s concerns seriously.

He said the ICC’s cases against the Sudanese and Kenyan presidents could hamper peace and reconciliation efforts in their countries.

“The unfair treatment that we have been subjected to by the ICC is completely unacceptable,” he said.

The ICC issued a warrant in 2009 for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir over alleged war crimes in the Darfur region, but he has not yet been arrested.

The ICC relies on the authorities of national governments to hand over suspects, but Mr Bashir has avoided arrest despite travelling to countries that have signed up to the ICC statute.

Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is the current chairman of the AU’s Executive Council, said the ICC had failed to respond to the African Union’s previous complaints.

“What the summit decided is that President Kenyatta should not appear until the request we have made is actually answered,” he said.

Thirty-four of the AU’s 54 members have signed up to the ICC.

Kenya’s parliament has already passed a motion for the country to withdraw.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said that withdrawing from the court would be a “badge of shame”.

Nobel Peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu has also voiced his support for the ICC.

“Those leaders seeking to skirt the court are effectively looking for a license to kill, maim and oppress their own people without consequence,” he wrote in an article carried by several newspapers.

“They simply vilify the institution as racist and unjust, as Hermann Goering and his fellow Nazi defendants vilified the Nuremberg tribunals following World War II.”

All eight of the cases currently open at the ICC are in Africa but it is also investigating possible cases elsewhere.

[youtube PrhCYmq4k6w]

Kenyan security officials are to be questioned by MPs about alleged intelligence failings over the Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre attack.

The head of the parliament’s defense committee says “people need to know the exact lapses in the security system”.

There are reports the National Intelligence Service (NIS) issued warnings a year ago.

Some 67 people were killed and many injured after al-Shabab militants stormed the Westgate centre in the capital Nairobi on September 21.

Five militants were killed by the security forces during the four-day siege and 10 people have since been arrested, the authorities say.

Al-Shabab, a Somali Islamist group, said the attack was in retaliation for Kenya’s military involvement in Somalia.

Kenyan security officials are to be questioned by MPs about alleged intelligence failings over the Nairobi's Westgate shopping centre attack

Kenyan security officials are to be questioned by MPs about alleged intelligence failings over the Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre attack

According to a BBC report, the militants hired a shop in Nairobi mall in the weeks leading up to the siege.

Security officials – including the head of the (NIS), Michael Gichangi – are set to appear before the parliamentary defense committee later on Monday.

Kenyan newspapers have reported that the NIS warned a year ago of the presence of suspected al-Shabab militants in the capital and that they were planning suicide attacks, including on the Westgate shopping centre.

Briefings were given to the ministers “informing them of increasing threat of terrorism and of plans to launch simultaneous attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa around September 13 and 20, 2013”, Kenya’s Daily Nation had quoted counter-terrorism reports as saying.

A dossier from the NIS – amounting to more than 8,000 pages according to Kenya’s Standard newspaper – also suggests the Israelis issued warnings that buildings owned by its citizens could be attacked between 4 and 28 September.

Westgate is partly Israeli-owned.

The Daily Nation has reported that Kenyan intelligence had established that al-Shabab leaders had begun singling out Westgate and the Holy Family Basilica for attack early this year.

Government figures said to have received the intelligence briefings include Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku, Treasury Minister Julius Rotich, Foreign Affairs Minister Amina Mohammed, Defence Minister Raychelle Omamo and Kenya Defence Forces chief Julius Karangi.

[youtube eZe47ceNM9A]

The Kenyan stand-off at Westgate shopping centre enters fourth day with security forces combing the Nairobi mall attacked by suspected al-Shabab militants.

An explosion and gunfire were heard at the Westgate complex on Tuesday morning, but later a senior police source said the operation was “over”.

At least 65 people have been killed, including three soldiers.

Meanwhile, Kenya’s foreign minister said “two or three” Americans and a British woman were among the attackers.

In an interview with the US TV programme PBS Newshour, Amina Mohamed said the Americans were 18 or 19 years old, of Somali or Arab origin, and lived “in Minnesota and one other place”.

Amina Mohamed said the Briton was a woman who had “done this many times before”.

She appeared to contradict earlier comments from Kenya’s interior minister, who suggested that all the attackers were men – though some may have been dressed as women.

Amina Mohamed’s remarks have fuelled media speculation about the possible involvement of Samantha Lewthwaite, the widow of one of the men who carried out attacks on London’s transport system on July 7th, 2005.

The Somali Islamist al-Shabab movement said it had carried out the attack in retaliation for Kenyan military operations in Somalia.

Earlier, a Kenyan officer at the scene said he believed there could be two or three attackers left inside the building.

The Kenyan stand-off at Westgate shopping centre enters fourth day with security forces combing the Nairobi mall attacked by suspected al-Shabab militants

The Kenyan stand-off at Westgate shopping centre enters fourth day with security forces combing the Nairobi mall attacked by suspected al-Shabab militants

The interior ministry said security officials were in “mop-up operations” and that “we’re very near the end”, while the police said they were cleaning up explosives that had been planted in the area.

The ministry said it believed all hostages had been released – though messages on an al-Shabab Twitter feed said hostages were still being held and militants were “holding their ground”.

Official sources said that six of the attackers have been killed – three on Monday and three since midnight.

Officials said earlier that 10 people had been arrested in connection with the attack.

Between 12 and 15 militants stormed the Westgate centre on Saturday, throwing grenades and firing on shoppers and staff.

At least 18 foreigners are among the dead, including six Britons, as well as citizens from France, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Peru, India, Ghana, South Africa and China.

The interior ministry said on Tuesday that three soldiers had succumbed to their injuries, and eight were still being treated.

“We’ve lost three heroes,” the ministry said on its Twitter account.

Nearly 200 people were wounded, including five Americans.

The Kenyan Red Cross said 51 people remained unaccounted for.

President Barack Obama called the attack a “terrible outrage” and said the US was providing all the co-operation it could to Kenya.

Thousands of Kenyans have been responding to appeals for blood donations.

Al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, has repeatedly threatened attacks on Kenyan soil if Nairobi did not pull its troops out of Somalia.

There are about 4,000 Kenyan troops in the south of Somalia as part of an African Union force supporting Somali government forces.

Al-Shabab is fighting to create an Islamic state in Somalia.

Despite being pushed out of key cities in the past two years, it remains in control of smaller towns and large swathes of the countryside.

UN special representative for Somalia Nicholas Kay called on Tuesday for a fresh surge in African troops to Somalia to counter an estimated 5,000 al-Shabab fighters, Reuters news agency reported.

[youtube Envf7PDEzbQ]

Kenyan Special Forces were today locked in a fight to the death with Islamic terrorists who have been barricaded inside Nairobi’s Westgate Shopping Centre with up to 40 hostages since Saturday.

Witnesses described hearing four large explosions at the Westgate Shopping Centre followed by the sight of thick plumes of smoke and the sounds of fierce gunfire after the military tried to break the three day siege by gaining access from the roof.

It is feared that some of the gunmen, who are from al-Qaeda affiliated group al- Shabaab, may have blown themselves up, though a Kenyan government minister said that militants had set fire to some mattresses in a supermarket as a decoy.

Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said that three of the terrorists have now been killed and that most hostages were now free.

“We think the operation will come to an end soon,” he said.

“We are in control of all the floors, the terrorists are running and hiding in some stores… there is no room for escape.”

Witnesses described hearing four large explosions at the Westgate Shopping Centre followed by the sight of thick plumes of smoke

Witnesses described hearing four large explosions at the Westgate Shopping Centre followed by the sight of thick plumes of smoke

The Red Cross has put the death toll at 62 and says 63 are still missing. At least 175 were injured, including children.

The Kenyan interior ministry said “almost all” the hostages have been evacuated from the mall hours after it was rocked by a series of blasts.

In a Twitter message it added “some individuals” have been arrested at Nairobi airport.

In a series of updates, it said 16 Kenyan soldiers had been injured, adding that the focus of the operation is now clearing the building.

Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said security forces now have control over all four storeys of the shopping mall and are confident there is no escape route for the surviving terrorists.

He said: “We are doing anything reasonably possible, cautiously though, to bring this process to an end.

“The terrorists could be running and hiding in some stores, but all floors now are under our control.”

As Kenyan soldiers and more armored personnel carriers descended on the mall, a spokesman for terror group al-Shabaab Ali Mohamud Rage said in a statement posted on an Islamist website that those held inside will “bear the brunt of any force” used by soldiers against the militants.

The statement read: “We authorize the mujahedeen inside the building to take actions against the prisoners as much as they are pressed.

“We are telling Christians advancing onto the mujahedeen to have mercy for their prisoners who will bear the brunt of any force directed against the mujahedeen.”

Meanwhile, a Twitter account claiming to represent al-Shabaab yesterday claimed that terrorists from seven nations are involved in the attack, including the U.S., Britain and Canada.

The HSM Press Office account, which has been suspended twice, claimed the group were Ahmed Nasir Shirdoon, 24, from London, UK; Gen Mustafe Noorduiin, 27, from Kansas City, U.S., Abdifatah Osman Keenadiid, 24, from Minneapolis, U.S., and Ahmed Mohamad Isse, 22, from Saint Paul, U.S; Ismael Guled, 23, from Finland; Abdirizak Mouled, 24, from Ontario, Canada; and Zaki Jama Caraale, 20, and Sayid Nuh, 25, both from Somalia.

[youtube LatnEhuhKrs]