1. US blacklists al-Shabab leaders for attack on Kenya base

    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a briefing to the media at the State Department, November 10, 2020.
    Image caption: The announcement came in a statement from the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's department

    The US has imposed sanctions on two senior leaders of Islamist militant group al-Shabab accused of responsibility in an attack on a military base in Kenya.

    One US military service member and two contractors were killed in the January attack in Camp Simba on Manda Island. It was the first attack by al-Shabab on US forces in Kenya.

    The State Department said it had designated Abdullahi Osman Mohamed and Maalim Ayman as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.

    It said Mr Mohamed was al-Shabab’s senior explosives expert and leader of its media wing, while Mr Ayman was responsible for planning the attack on Camp Simba.

    "US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Mohamed and Ayman. Their property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked," the state department said in a statement.


  2. Al-Shabab's 'bomb-making materials seized'

    Abdi Dahir

    BBC Monitoring, Nairobi

    Al-Shabab fighters
    Image caption: Al-Shabab fighters have staged numerous attacks in Somalia

    Somalia's spy agency, National Intelligence and Security Agency (Nisa), says it has seized 79 tonnes of sulphuric acid smuggled into the country for use by al-Shabab militants to make explosives.

    "We have seized 79 tonnes of sulphuric acid and arrested a number of people who smuggled it into the country and were transporting it to al-Shabab mafia," Nisa said in a tweet.

    The agency added that investigations were ongoing and the suspects will be arraigned later in court. It did not reveal when the seizure was made.

    The announcement comes as Somalia marks the third anniversary of the 14 October 2017 bombing in the capital, Mogadishu, that killed more than 600 people.

    Al-Shabab did not say it carried out the attack, although it frequently stages attacks in the capital.

    The UN Security Council had in June warned that al-Shabab was capable of smuggling explosives-making components into the country.

  3. Kenyan court to rule on shopping mall attack case

    Ferdinand Omondi

    BBC News, Nairobi

    Heavy smoke is seen from the site of the terrorist attack, Westgate Mall, on September 23, 2013
    Image caption: Al-Shabab militants said they carried out the 2013 attack

    A court is Kenya is set to pass judgement in the case of three men charged with helping armed militants launch an attack on a shopping mall the capital, Nairobi, in 2013.

    This is the only trial in connection with the attack.

    At least 67 people died in the assault on the upmarket Westgate shopping complex.

    Somalia-based Islamist militants al-Shabab said they carried out the attack. The state said the attackers involved were dead.

    More than 140 witnesses testified in the case, in which the accused persons denied conspiring to commit terrorism.

    A conviction will encourage a country that remains on high alert over possible terrorist attacks, and whose military is still in Somalia fighting al-Shabab from their bases.

  4. Kenya freezes assets of al-Shabab 'financiers'

    Emmanuel Igunza

    BBC News, Nairobi

    Al-Shabab fighters in Elasha Biyaha, in the Afgoei Corridor
    Image caption: Al-Shabab fighters have staged numerous attacks in Kenya

    Kenya has frozen the assets of nine people it accuses of funding Somalia’s militant group al-Shabab.

    The interior ministry said the move was part of its renewed counter-terrorism efforts aimed at tackling “ domestic terrorists”.

    In a statement, Internal Security Minister Fred Matiang'i said the freezing of assets of the nine Kenyans would ensure they no longer financed al-Shabab group “within our borders” .

    He also warned that the group was recruiting, radicalising and planting operatives among civilians “to advance their agenda of extremism and terrorism”.

    The announcement came as Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta told global leaders that the Covid-19 pandemic had heightened potential for terrorist acts, worsened the refugee crisis and led to the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the Horn of Africa region.

    Kenya has faced numerous attacks from al-Shabab since deploying its troops to Somalia in 2011 to combat the group.

    The president was speaking during a virtual meeting of the Aqaba Process on Covid-19 convened by King Abdullah II of Jordan that was also attended by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and UN Secretary General António Guterres to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic and global security.


  5. Ten killed in deadly Somalia 'prison break attempt'

    Bella Hassan

    BBC News, Mogadishu

    Inmates at a prison in Somalia

    Officials in Somalia say 10 people have died during a shoot-out inside the capital Mogadishu's main prison.

    A spokesman for the information ministry said six inmates who were members of the jihadist group al-Shabab were killed and four security personnel also died.

    There are reports that one of the prisoners managed to get a pistol off a prison warden and then a group of inmates broke into the armoury.

    A specially trained police unit was deployed to deal with the outbreak of violence, which appeared to be an attempted prison break.

    The prison holds some of the most notorious al-Shabab prisoners who are either serving life sentences or awaiting the death penalty.

    A similar attempt was made by inmates at the prison 2017.

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  6. Somalia army 'incapable' of ousting al-Shabab - US

    A Somali soldier stands guard next to the site where Al Shebab militants carried out a suicide attack.
    Image caption: The Somali army is said to be heavily reliant on foreign support

    Somalia's national army is "incapable" of driving out militant group al-Shabab from its strongholds, the US department has said.

    The country is still "heavily dependent" on foreign support in almost all major security functions throughout the country, the State Department said in its Country Reports on Terrorism 2019.

    The annual report detailing the work of "international terrorist groups" was released on Wednesday.

    It says that al-Shabab funds its activities "through illegal charcoal production and exports, taxation of local populations and businesses, and by means of remittances and other money transfers from the Somali diaspora".

    The group is also said to control large parts of the country through which it it uses to launch attacks in neighbouring Kenya.


  7. Mogadishu suicide bombing kills two at military base

    Muhyadin Roble

    Editor, BBC News Somali

    A suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to a military training academy in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, early Tuesday, killing at least two people.

    The bomber donated his explosives after guards intercepted him as he tried to queue with new military recruits who were preparing to enter the Turkish-run facility.

    The academy, known as TURKSOM, is Turkey’s largest overseas military base and has been training Somali security forces since 2017.

    Somali militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack.