News / Africa

Kenya Defends Security Efforts After Weekend Bombings

Muslims carry a casket in Mombasa, Kenya, May 4, 2014, after an explosion killed four people at a bus stop on Saturday night.
Muslims carry a casket in Mombasa, Kenya, May 4, 2014, after an explosion killed four people at a bus stop on Saturday night.
Reuters
Kenya's government defended the efforts of its security services on Monday despite deadly weekend bombings, seven months after the Westgate shopping mall attack, and said it has foiled many other plots.

Blasts in Nairobi and Mombasa killed seven people this weekend, but for months many Kenyans have voiced growing anger that militants - believed to be linked to Somalia's al-Qaida-aligned al-Shabab group or their sympathizers - have continued to stage sporadic attacks with apparent ease.

"We have disrupted a lot of schemes of the terrorists in our country," Deputy President William Ruto told journalists in response to questions about public frustration over insecurity.

"The many that we manage to disrupt sometimes are lost when one happens in the country, because that is what people notice."

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the weekend attacks, but Somalia's al-Shabab said it carried out the Westgate raid in Nairobi in September in which gunmen killed at least 67 people.

Al-Shabab has said that that attack and others it has claimed in Kenya were to demand Kenyan troops withdraw from neighboring Somalia.

Ruto repeated that his government would not to pull its soldiers out of Somalia, saying that would let al-Shabab regroup and create a bigger threat to Kenya.

"We will not relent and we will not withdraw from Somalia," Ruto said, noting that Kenya would not succumb to "blackmail".

"We are on top of this situation," he said of the security response. "What you see are desperate kicks of a dying horse."

Security worries are hurting Kenya's tourism industry.

Hotels on the popular coast north and south of Mombasa have seen a drop in bookings since Westgate and because of other attacks.

The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi told its citizens after Saturday's attacks on Mombasa to avoid any travel to the port city "for the time being".

Western diplomats have privately said Kenyan security forces - which receive aid and training from the United States, Britain and Israel among others - could do more to secure the nation and said rivalries between agencies hampered intelligence work.

In his comments at the news conference, Ruto said different arms of the security services were operating together: "All our security agencies have been working coherently and indivisibly."

In the aftermath of Westgate, many Kenyans complained there were no high-level resignations despite failings in handling the four-day siege, including looting of the mall by soldiers.

Responding to a question about whether top officials would take responsibility after the weekend attacks, Ruto said: "We don't want to participate in a game of musical chairs."

He called on all citizens to stay vigilant and help spot suspicious individuals or packages. He said steps would be taken to protect travellers on public transport and urged the judiciary to act, after saying some suspected militants were released on bail and then carried out or plotted attacks.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs