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Al-Shabab Threatens to Kill Kenyan Prisoners

Somali militants are threatening to execute a group of Kenyan hostages unless the Kenyan government frees Muslims arrested on terrorism charges.

Militant group Al-Shabab released a video late Wednesday that shows a total of six Kenyans purportedly in its custody. One man, identified as Mule Yesse Edwards, appealed to Kenyan officials and presidential candidates to secure the hostages' release.

In a series of Twitter messages, al-Shabab said Kenya must respond to its demands by February 14 or the men will be executed. The demands include the release of all Muslim prisoners held on terrorism charges in Kenya, and the release of Muslims extradited to Uganda to face terrorism charges there.

There was no immediate response from the Kenyan government. A spokesman for the Kenyan Defense Ministry told VOA he is aware of two Kenyan civil servants in al-Shabab hands.

Kenya sent soldiers into Somalia in October 2011 to fight al-Shabab, after a series of cross-border kidnappings it blamed on the group.

Since then, Kenya has endured a wave of bomb and grenade attacks, often blamed on al-Shabab or its sympathizers.
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