Mpeketoni Terror Attack; a Case of Politically Sponsored Ethnic Terrorism

EVENT SUMMARY

A Disgraced Ex-Kenya Air force Officer, Major Indris Abdirahman alongside slain terrorist financier Shahid Butt was behind the Mpeketoni terror attack in between 15th and 17th June 2014. Slightly over 60 persons were killed by members of the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, Harakat Al-Shabaab Mujahideen (HSM).

Between 15th and 17th June 2014, over 80 heavily armed militants attacked Mpeketoni village and township in the wee hours of the night killing Christian men and youths in cold blood. Half of the attackers were youths from Mombasa and Kwale. Most of them have been killed by police and some have turned into state witnesses (naming Indris Abdirahman, Shahid Bhatt, and Sheikh Abubakar Shariff Makaburi as masterminds). The rest were members of Jaysh-Ayman, a criminal outfit that was attempting to set up bases in Boni Forest.

Both Shahid Bhatt and Abubakar Makaburi have since then been killed. Indris was dishonorably dismissed and discharged from the Kenya Air-Force for selling narcotics, disclosing classified intelligence reports from Military Intelligence, insubordination, incompetence, extremism, and abetting crime.

Indris, a trained logistician facilitated the Mpeketoni attack through providing logistics. This included providing a vehicle, a coffin, food, phones, and money. He also used local cells to conduct surveillance on Mombasa-Malindi-Lamu road. Shahid Bhatt sourced the van which ferried the youths and provided the money Idris would pay them. Sheikh Makaburi was behind recruitment and mobilization of the attackers. Most of the youths were radical extremists recruited by Makaburi himself and paid up by Bhatt and Indris.

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STRATEGY

The 40 criminals were to team up with another group of militants from Somalia, elements of the vanquished Jaysh-Ayman wing of the Al-Qaeda affiliate, Al-Shabaab late evening Sunday at the outskirts of the target area (Ref: Mpeketoni).

The group left Mombasa for Lamu, early Sunday in a Toyota Rosa Van draped in red ribbons to portend it was headed for a funeral. On its roof carrier, a coffin was latched securely and covered in a white sheet. Inside, there was no corpse rather dozens of AK-47 assault rifles and boxes of bullets.

The rest is well documented in popular media. On that fateful evening, young men of Kikuyu origin besides other ethnicities were shot dead while others throats were slit in cold blood in the presence of their children and women. The bloody orgy and corwardice would become global headlines as planned by the terrorists.

The government issued a statement claiming the attack was political. Experts disputed the government viewpoint. The Al-Qaeda affiliate, Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility further making the attack contraversial. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) claims it intercepted a call made to the late Muhamed Kuno Gamadheere requesting cooperation in the Lamu operation. CIA claims the caller was a connected to top Kenyan politicians. Gamadheere was the mastermind of the Garissa university terror attack. He was killed by Kenyan and Juba-land Special Forces outside the port city of Kismayu, Somalia.

The killing of Shahid Bhatt and Sheik Abubakar Makaburi ended the reign of terror gangs, radical mosques, terror cells, radicalization and subsequent recruitment of youths to Harakat Al-Shabaab Mujahideen terror group. Most important and notable since their deaths is the end of terror attacks in both Nairobi and Mombasa, an indicator, they were masterminds, financiers, and recruiters.

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ANALYSIS

Ethnic terrorism differs considerably from violence carried out for ideological, religious, or financial motives. Ethnic terrorists often seek to influence their own constituencies more than the country as a whole (Indris, Makaburi, Bhatt and Gamadheere have, before their unceremonial deaths claimed that Coastal and NEP Kenya are Muslims lands and should be claimed and the inhabitants killed or banished unless they convert to Islam. At he same time the radical clerics have insisted that Government is persecuting Muslims and taking away their lands and rights.) Ethnic terrorists frequently seek to foster communal identity, in contrast to an identity proposed by the state. Ethnic terrorists often target potential intermediaries (jobless/vulnerable youths, radical clerics, and poor communities) who might otherwise compromise on identity issues. A secondary goal of the attacks is to create a climate of fear among a rival group's population.

 

 

 

 

 

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