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

Photogallery Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had earlier warned storm could be one of worst the city has ever faced More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid