News

    US Terrorism Report Shows Close Ties with Kenya to Combat al-Qaida

    The State Department's annual report on global terrorism highlights growing U.S. security ties with its east African ally, Kenya, to meet challenges posed by al-Qaida and al-Qaida supported militants in neighboring Somalia. One key effort is focused on keeping terrorists from being able to smuggle in materials to make a "dirty bomb."

    The State Department report, released Thursday, contains an overview of the expanding security ties between the United States and Kenya, aimed at preventing terrorists from staging attacks inside Kenya and apprehending suspected terrorists.  

    In the past year, the United States says it helped the Kenyan army develop a Ranger Strike Force, an elite counter-terrorism unit capable of conducting operations against infiltrators and armed groups.  The United States also gave training and unspecified equipment to the Kenyan navy for maritime interdiction operations in Kenyan waters.

    The State Department's Antiterrorism Assistance program also provided training and equipment to the country's Maritime Police Unit.  The report says the U.S. military's Djibouti-based Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa is currently installing a Maritime Security and Safety Information System in key positions along the Kenyan coast.

    The measures are largely in response to threats posed by two al-Qaida operatives, who allegedly carried out the 1998 attacks on U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.  U.S. intelligence analysts say the operatives, Comoros-born Fazul Abdullah Mohammed and Kenyan national Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, have eluded capture through the help of al-Qaida's support network in the coastal region of Kenya and in parts of the capital, Nairobi.

    The rising power of a militant group called al-Shabab in neighboring Somalia has also added a new security challenge in the region.  Al-Shabab, which currently controls key towns in southern and central Somalia, was founded several years ago by al-Qaida-trained Somali radicals and is virulently anti-West.

    The leadership of al-Shabab is widely acknowledged to be strengthening its ties with al-Qaida. There are credible reports that al-Qaida has operatives in various parts of Somalia teaching al-Shabab fighters techniques to carry out suicide and roadside bombings.

    In mid-April, Kenya signed a deal, which will allow the United States to install radiation sensors and other equipment at its busy Mombasa seaport to detect any nuclear or radiological materials that could be smuggled in to be used in a weapon. When completed in several months time, the Mombasa port will join some 20 others in the world participating in the so-called Megaports Initiative set up by the U.S. government in 2003.  

    An expert on nuclear proliferation at the RAND Corporation in the United States, Brian Jenkins, says because of its proximity to Somalia and its close ties to the West, Kenya is vulnerable to the worst-case scenario, where an al-Qaida terrorist unleashes a "dirty bomb" in Nairobi causing the death of thousands.

    "We do know that al-Qaida has nuclear ambitions," he said. "We discovered documents that underscored their interest when we overran some of these al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan in late 2001.   Actually building a nuclear device is difficult.  But the acquisition of radioactive material for a so-called 'dirty bomb,' which is radioactive material that is dispersed with a conventional explosive device, that is not that challenging.  So, yes, there is a threat particularly of the use of radioactive material, although we have no specific evidence indicating any capability at this time."

    Efforts to combat terrorism have not been without controversy.  The U.S. and Kenyan governments were harshly criticized by human rights groups for the illegal detentions of at least 150 people in 2006-2007 as terrorist suspects.  The rights groups say at the request of the United States, Kenya sent many of the detainees to Somalia and Ethiopia, where some of them were tortured and held incommunicado for months.  

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora