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Kenyatta Terror Or Kenya Horror: Nairobi Westgate Mall Attack - Ash-Shabab's Revenge Or Uhuru's ICC Bill?

Q&A: Al-Shabab defends Nairobi attack

Military spokesman explains to Al Jazeera why mall siege was launched, and what will happen next.

Hamza Mohamed

Mogadishu, Somalia - Al-Shabab - the al-Qaeda-linked Somali-based group - has claimed responsibility for an attack in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

The attack launched on Saturday on the upscale Westgate shopping mall has killed at least 62 people and wounded more than 150 others. Heavy gunfire continued to ring out on Monday.

Al Jazeera's Hamza Mohamed interviewed al-Shabab's spokesman for military operations, Sheikh Abulaziz Abu Muscab, as the siege at the mall entered its third day. Abulaziz spoke about why the group attacked Nairobi now. He also provided insight into al-Shabab's relations with the Mombasa Youth Centre, a group the Kenyan government designated as a terrorist organisation.

Sheikh Abulaziz Abu Muscab, al-Shabab military operations spokesma

Al Jazeera: It is more than two years since Kenyan troops went into Somalia to fight al-Shabab. Why did al-Shabab attack Nairobi now?

Sheikh Abulaziz Abu Muscab: We have been late in attacking Nairobi. We did not attack before because they were expecting us to attack. Our aim is to attack our enemy when they least expect us to attack. This time they were not expecting us to attack. We choose when to attack, and best time to attack.

Al Jazeera: Is this al-Shabab's first attack in Nairobi?

Al-Shabab's spokesman: Thats not the importing thing. The important thing is it is us who attacked now. It is not important to say we attacked before or not.

Al Jazeera: This attack is happening at Westgate Mall, which, when the attack started, was full of shoppers. Why is al-Shabab attacking a place that is full of civilians?

Al-Shabab's spokesman: The place we attacked is Westgate shopping mall. It is a place where tourists from across the world come to shop, where diplomats gather. It is a place where Kenya's decision-makers go to relax and enjoy themselves. Westgate is a place where there are Jewish and American shops. So we have to attack them.

On civilian deaths, Kenya should first be asked why they bombed innocent Somali civilians in refugee camps, why they bombed innocent people in Gedo and Jubba regions. They should be asked that first before us.

Al Jazeera: Al-Shabab claims to work to protect Muslims and Somalis in particular. Some of the people killed in this attack suggests otherwise.

Al-Shabab's spokesman: History supports our claim. We are the only ones protecting Somalis and Somalia. We are the only group fighting Somalia's historic enemies. We are the only one who can say "no" to Somalis' enemies.

On the loss of lives, there were Kenyan soldiers firing back at our fighters. There was an exchange of gunfire. There is no evidence it was our bullets that killed them.

We released all Muslims when we took control of the mall. Witnesses have backed us on this.

Al Jazeera: Do you think this attack will make Kenya withdraw its troops from Somalia?

Al-Shabab's spokesman: That question is not for us to answer. That is for the Kenyan government to answer. It is up to them to withdraw their soldiers or not. If they don't withdraw, attacks like this will become common in Kenya. It is possible if they don't withdraw attacks like this will happen in Kenyan cities and towns every day.

Al Jazeera: Before Kenyan troops went into Somalia in October 2011, what was al-Shabab's relation with the Kenyan government?

Al-Shabab's spokesman: We always knew Kenya is the enemy of the Somali people. We knew this when we controlled the border towns. Kenya invading us was not unexpected. We don't believe them and we dont trust them.

Al Jazeera: Kenya says it will go after the perpetrators of this attack and won't stop until they are defeated. What do you say to that?

Al-Shabab's spokesman: We are not perpetrators. We are only defending ourselves and defending our rights, the rights of the Somali people.

Today no one has a worse criminal record than the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. He's talking about tens of people killed at Westgate while he's responsible for the deaths of thousands of people killed when he was running for the presidency. If Kenyans want to hold someone accountable for crimes they should first start with him.

Al Jazeera: Many, including the Somali and Kenyan governments, are saying al-Shabab targeting a place full of civilians is a sign of weakness, that al-Shabab is on the back foot and will soon be history. Is that the case?

Al-Shabab's spokesman: Whom are these people judging us? These people's weakness is public for everyone to see. The Somali government is protected by tanks for them to stay in power. The Kenyans rely on foreign support, even to deal with a small matter like Westgate. They asked for Western support.

Al Jazeera: Finally, Kenya has designated the Mombasa Youth Centre (MYC) as a terrorist organisation. The group has on many occasions endorsed al-Shabab. What is al-Shabab's relationship with MYC?

Al-Shabab's spokesman: The relations between MYC and us are the same relations between Muslims. They are our Muslim brothers. Islam is our common relation, and they have the same right from us like any other Muslim.

 

Below are some discussions, arguments, debates and provocations on Gunmen rampage in Nairobi mall, Deadly gun battle in Nairobi shopping mall and AlJazeera's Q&A Al-Shabab defends Nairobi attack as presented on the Middle Eastern mainstream media outlet interviews on DISQUSS via Facebook, Twitter etc networks - Unedited Pickups:



• MOGAD BINGI responding to osman
where is the hukum(evidence) of al-shabab for killing innocent civilians if they claim they are followers of ISLAM.
They have by their actions LIED against the religion of ALLAH and Muhammad(S.A.W) for they have no prove.
Even in war, islam forbids the killing of women, children, the old, livestock and even plants. How then do you justify the killing of innocent civilians if you claim to be a muslim.
ALLAH will judge them for their evil actions and for putting the lives of all other muslims who will suffer reprisal attacks due to their actions.


• sreejith responding to MOGAD BINGI
You say "Even in war, islam forbids the killing of women, children, the old, livestock and even plants."-------Indeed Muhammad wanted the captive women in wars to be taken as right hand possessions or slavery.


• MOGAD BINGI responding to sreejith
English is the language of my text not chinese. Read before you comment. And indeed if you will want to force a deviation to the subject you raised, support your claim with prove and i will be invited to challenge.


• rasal responding to sreejith
Mr. Sreejith, understand the full context of what you said above. Do not take phrases out of context. If you are interested to know what you said, please do let me know. Will be more than happy to make you understand what that means. I'm not interested in an argument.


• Papa Nur responding to sreejith
sreejith. Wow!. I am blown away by your ignorance and prejudice of Islam, Muslims and the Beloved Prophet Muhammad - peace be upon him. But then... coming from a Hindu - cow worshiper, that's given. Enjoy!.


• ashma responding to Folani
Normally something like that is said about Jews... and such views belong to 1930-s Germany, not to English-speaking forum. While Muslims, Jews and Christians may hate each other... it is a form of Nazism for a national goverment to discriminate against a person on the basis of his ethnicity and religion. Yes, extremist religious sects can create sporadic atrocities, but discrimination against a religion leads to countrywide network of concentration camps.


• MOGAD BINGI responding to Folani
Is there any country in this world that does not have indigenous people who are muslims ? The big answer is NONE exist. Terrorism has no colour, race or religion. Any act of aggression against innocent people is criminal and barbaric and should not be entertained by all. It is sad that the perpetrators of such despicable act always hide behind religion to rally sympathy from the ignorant and persons carried away by emotions. Muslims have a greater responsibility to flash outall acts of injustices irrespective of who the oppressor is. Such is the true teaching for us muslims if indeed we believe and are adherents of the true and established Islamic teachings.


• StageLeft responding to ashma
The Jews of 1930-s Germany were not bombing and killing innocent people, so big difference there. If these cavemen believe they will somehow rule the world one day, they are sadly mistaken!


• Salim Morgan responding to MOGAD BINGI
Thank you.


• Papa Nur responding to MOGAD BINGI
@MOGAD BINGI. Man!. You are incredibly obtuse or delusional or both. Before you start spewing the garbage of crimes against ALLAH & His Rasool and killing of women and children by Al-Shabab; where was your anger when Muslims are killed every day across the globe killed like chickens? - such as gassing of children in Syria. Where was your outrage then?.
I am really sick and tired of knee jerking Muslims like you, who say exactly what the West & their legion of media and army want to hear. What is happening here is an asymmetric warfare and a war of attrition by a weaker opponent with far less capacity and resources. And no one should tell them how they strategize, least of which is a confused Muslims like you.
For us, ones on the fence watching in, all we say: "we told you so". Fact check: Somalia has had no peace or state since the fall S. Barre, until the Al-Shabab took power. What happen then?, the US did not like that. Fact, US sent in intelligence, weapons and regional minions: Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda etc to topple the Shariah (a dirty word for the deniers of Truth & the Munafiqoon) government.
And folks, that's how we got here.


• Usser454 responding to Papa Nur
"I am really sick and tied of knee jerking Muslims like you, who say exactly what the West & their legion of media and army want to hear. What is happening here is an asymmetric warfare and a war of attrition by a weaker opponent with far less capacity and resources. And no one should tell them how they strategize, least of which is a confused Muslims like you."
Bravo for fantastically failing reason! Anyone with any slight sense of strategy understand this more about "revenge killing" than some obscure tactic in asymmetric warfare.
Look at the real asymmetric warfare in history, e.g. Anglo-Boer War, Vietcong, WW2 resistance fighters. Despite the strikes were through unconventional methods, the strikes' goal yield necessarily tactical and strategic value. That means they don't go around capture and destroy civilian concentrated points, with little to no military presence or resource value.
Don't insult asymmetric warfare by equating it to savages seeking blood only for revenge.


• Papa Nur responding to Usser454
Usser454. I did not coin that usage as it is applied today; did not use it in a historical context. Indeed, this term gain currency from CIA and top US National Security advisers/analysts' usage to describe some theaters of conflict.
Also a term given to us today is "Blowback", just wiki it. An example of blowback is, of course, 9/11. Enjoy!.


• nyamburamuhia responding to osman
True this. They are just hate-mongers, misleading people from the truth that all religions preach LOVE AND PEACE


• bosley987 responding to osman
Al Shabaab stand on the Somali people. So he was nearly right.


• Videoguy
How convenient that they are fighting for the cause of Muslim Somalis yet they also kill Somalis almost everyday. Or do they remember that dead Somalis are Muslims only when it suits them? Hypocrites. You are cowards on the run and you will be found and CRUSHED!!! You can count on that


• Papa Nur responding to Videoguy
Videoguy. A rather simplistic analysis. Yes, Muslims are just "terrorist", who "hated" the Western way of life and go on killing innocent non-believing men, women and children. That narrative is dead on it's face value.
The basis of any social inquiry is: why, porque, ?????,Pourquoi,??at? and all the whys, one could come up with. I never see any why for all carnage from both sides.
Tell me, how are the Israelis plans to get Hamas "CRUSHED" working or even the US Trillions of dollars (no hyperbole) spending to have "terrorist' CRUSHED fanned out. Enjoy.


• Casualties of peace responding to The_Palestinians_are_a_fiction
you are denying the existence of a whole race and preaching about peace and acusing islam very funny takin their houses is not enough for you now you wanna deny their name on the media too


• The Pen responding to Casualties of peace
Highlighting the subjugation of one people does not justify the murder of another!


• The_Palestinians_are_a_fiction responding to Casualties of peace
I claim that the Palestinian people is a fiction as an nation and in few decades it will disapear the same way it apears 60-70 years ago.
There was never a Palestinian people, Palestinian land or a Palestinian nation.
Even many "Palestinians" think the same:
Listen to Zahir Muhsein, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization executive committee, from an interview with a Dutch newspaper given in 1977: "The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct ‘Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism. For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state
with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan."
If this is a lie why Zahir Muhsein was a member of the PLO managment for many years after this interview ?


• The Truth responding to The_Palestinians_are_a_fiction
What a LIAR you are, why have you CHOPPED and EDITED what Zahir Muhsein actually said, compare and contrast what you have posted and what Zahir Muhsein actually said ........
"Between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese there are no differences. We are all part of ONE people, the Arab nation. Look, I have family members with Palestinian, Lebanese, Jordanian and Syrian citizenship. We are ONE people. Just for political reasons we carefully underwrite our Palestinian identity. Because it is of national interest for the Arabs to advocate the existence of Palestinians to balance Zionism. Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity exists only for tactical reasons. The establishment of a Palestinian state is a new tool to continue the fight against Israel and for Arab unity.
A separate Palestinian entity needs to fight for the national interest in the then remaining occupied territories. The Jordanian government cannot speak for Palestinians in Israel, Lebanon or Syria. Jordan is a state with specific borders. It cannot lay claim on - for instance - Haifa or Jaffa, while I AM entitled to Haifa, Jaffa, Jerusalem en Beersheba. Jordan can only speak for Jordanians and the Palestinians in Jordan. The Palestinian state would be entitled to represent all Palestinians in the Arab world en elsewhere. Once we have accomplished all of our rights in all of Palestine, we shouldn't postpone the unification of Jordan and Palestine for one second."
So now we can see where the problem is.....


• The_Palestinians_are_a_fiction responding to The Truth
Another fiction qoute from a Palestinian.
One can find the original interview in Trouw, the Dutch newspaper archive.
Anyway from your version:
"Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity exists only for tactical reasons. The establishment of a Palestinian state is a new tool to continue the fight against Israel and for Arab unity."


• Machiavelli responding to The_Palestinians_are_a_fiction
But the fact is that Isreal as a state will never enjoy true peace until the issue of a Palestinian state is resolved. So whether it is fiction or not there are people living in the West Bank and the Gaza strip called Palestinians. Until they achieve nationhood or some form of national identity recognised by Israel there will never be real peace for Israel. Your argument is based on an accident of history


• The_Palestinians_are_a_fiction responding to Machiavelli
There are already 2 Palestinain state:
Gaza-Strip and the Jordanian kingdom (80% of its population are Palestinians).
P.S.
For years both Jordanians and Palestinians claimed "Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan" only when the Palestinians failed to move the Jordanian king aside (It also cost the lives of 25,000 Palestinians) they aimed there effort agianst Israel.


• Abu Ibrahim responding to The_Palestinians_are_a_fiction
What about the Philistines? Have you ever heard of them? The story about Samson killing many of them like 4000 years ago? Do you know the word Palestine in arabic: Philisteen!
Any coincidence?
Are you sure they never existed?


• fred lapides responding to Abu Ibrahim
historyh is history and it does not make for today. The American indians once roamed and lived all over what is now the US...now they live on 1 percent of the territory they once had.
Once there was the Ottoman empire ruling what you call Palestinian state but that is no longer the case


• pave responding to The_Palestinians_are_a_fiction
so what are you suggesting? how will the palestinian disppair? so its true that extremisim knows no religion, race et el


• Papa Nur responding to Mwashigu
Mwashigu. No more cowardice than US fire bombing 65% of Japan during WWII and then nuking them TWICE. Or the Israeli IDF war crimes in Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps, that's an archived fact.
As for recent catalogs in US cowardice: how about embargo on Iraq, which resulted in over 500,000 death of children and the aged (that's a joint US Congress report) in addition to the incalculable carnage of the invasion. And this forum is too small to list the Israeli's war crimes in that small part of the neighborhood. Enjoy!.


• bosley987 responding to Papa Nur
...which is nothing to do with this article.


• Papa Nur responding to bosley987
Yes, it does, Guys like you could compartmentalize justice and fairness in conflict resolution only when/if it serves your interest or world view.
Things just happen in a vacuum; the past is still shaping our collective future and security. Muslims are here, we ain't leaving on a rocket to Mars. Enjoy!.


• bosley987 responding to Papa Nur
But that's not what you said. You just threw out a list of stuff you don't like and didn't try to connect them to the siege in Somalia. You still haven't, really. "This stuff is bad but this other different stuff is worse" isn't a relation. The Great Leap Forward, Hurricane Katrina and the blowing up of Alderaan are also terrible events and also nothing to do with this article.


• Papa Nur responding to Mwashigu
Mwashigu . Oh yes, indeed. When the US and Israeli IDF does the same, as they always do on Muslims, it is called "collateral damage". what a world of justice. Enjoy!.
its clear that these people will steal our name if we dont tell the truth to the world in somali alshabaab has almost ZERO support from the local population because they killed more somali muslims then any other enemy you can think of they kill the elders the educated people who can stand up to them they kill university teacher but most of the people they killed were sheikh's those who could say this is not jihad or islam they killed people inside masjid praying but now what made them weak is not all that its inside job were the leader killed the rest of alshabab leadership mostly from arab countries and some from america because of power strugle these group are viewed literally like thugs or mafia group they are called "khawaarij" in somalia and now they are trying to gain popularity and recruitment from these its funny when they say we are proctecting somalia from enemy if there was no alshabab there would be no kenya or any other country.

 

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