Somalia is treading on the steps of Afghanistan; an anarchic, fanatic Somalia could give birth to a Somali Osama bin Laden.
After 9/11 terror, Nairobi mall attack was the one that Americans were least expecting. Islamist terrorists had on Saturday attacked a shopping mall in Nairobi, leaving 68 people dead and 175 wounded in an attack by Somalia’s al Shabaab group.
Those murdered in the attack were not just Kenyans; it included Dutch, British and Chinese citizens and diplomats from Canada and Ghana. Some U.S. citizens were injured, though the final toll is still not clear. However, the question that makes round in the mind of people is “why us?”
It did not happen in the US but in a country where President Barack Obama’s father was born- Kenya. A scintillating, high society mall looked like an aggressive, blood-soaked Hollywood movie. Heavily armed and well-trained armed men wearing black clothes went on rampage; making hostages; and leaving hundreds dead and injured.
The same grumbles as 9/11 are associated with this horror. The attackers are not from al-Qaeda; they are from al-Shabaab militant group in Somalia. But both groups are allied. Al-Shabaab has controlled and intimidated much of Somalia for years by delivering sharia law punishments like beheadings and stoning women to death for treachery, even if the women had been sexually assaulted.
Kenya had sent thousands of soldiers to the neighbouring Somalia to throw out Al-Shabaab. They have been moderately successful and the Islamist extremist group warn of getting their revenge. This is the reason why Kenya is now under the attack of al-Shabaab. This is the most recent among the horrendous incidents that include setting ablaze churches and killing tourists.
Is Somalia moving on the steps of Afghanistan?
The fight is not just with the Kenyans or Africans; Somalia is treading on the steps of Afghanistan. An anarchic, fanatic Somalia could give birth to a Somali Osama bin Laden and fresh strikes on the US, just as Afghanistan sheltered and fostered Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
The warning signs have been rising for more than a decade. Al-Qaeda bombed the US Embassy in Nairobi in 1998. Reportedly, the truck bomb killed more than 200, and there was a synchronized attack on the US Embassy in neighbouring Tanzania. In another attack, an Israeli hotel on the tourist beaches of the Indian Ocean was hit more than a decade ago.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is indicted of war crimes for purportedly stirring violence post elections in 2007, which left 1,000 people dead.
In the middle of this ongoing tragedy, Kenya urgently needs a good leadership. The Westgate victims deserve at least this much.