News24

Kenyans query military assault on Shabaab

2011-10-25 12:39

Nairobi - Kenyans on Tuesday questioned the country's military assault against Somali's extremist rebels after two grenade attacks rocked Nairobi, killing one person and wounding 29.

Although the Shabaab have not claimed responsibility for the Monday blasts, police and residents suspect Shabaab operatives in Kenya since the insurgents warned of reprisals.

Many are concerned that there are Shabaab sympathisers within Kenya's sizeable Somali community, including ethnic Somali Kenyans.

"If the head of the snake is right here in Eastleigh, why did we go to Somalia?" the Daily Nation newspaper asked, referring to a Nairobi district dominated by ethnic Kenyan Somalis.

"Somebody should explain why we are pursuing al-Shabaab militants deep inside Somalia instead of taking out the nexus right here at home."

Kenya launched an unprecedented military incursion on October 16 after four foreigners were abducted on its soil and taken by the abductors into Somalia.

Nairobi accuses the Shabaab of being behind the kidnappings and attacks on its territory.

Since the start of the military drive, security officials have issued warnings and announced they were boosting security around vulnerable sites.

"I don't totally support the military intervention. The country is not secure because the Shabaab are in Kenya," said Denis Kimathi, a shopkeeper at a busy Nairobi bus terminus.

"Although the Kenya army has invaded Somalia, the problem is here in Kenya. They have forgotten that the Shabaab are also in Kenya and not only in Somalia," said Desmond Ligale, a bus conductor.

Despite assurances by Nairobi officials that security has been tightened, there are few concrete signs of increased policing in the capital.

Major shopping centres either have no security measures or the same as before - cursory bag checks and searches underneath cars.