Amisom’s persistent onslaught on Shabaab bearing fruit, says CS Nkaissery

Amisom troops on patrol in Somalia. Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery has said the splitting of Al-Shabaab into smaller groups is as a result of a persistent onslaught by the AU-led Amisom troops. AFP PHOTO | MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB

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The splitting of the Somalia-based terror group Al-Shabaab into two is as a result of the persistent pressure by the African Union Mission to Somalia (Amisom) troops, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery has said.

Maj Gen (Rtd) Nkaissery, who spoke at Serena Beach Resort Hotel in Mombasa on Christmas day, said despite the threat the allegiance by the terror group to the Islamic State (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda poses, Amisom would benefit from the group’s “disorganisation”.

“By the fact that Al-Shabaab has two factions, with one supporting Al-Qaeda and the other ISIS, that should make us more alert. The splitting means they are moving in smaller groups and therefore easy to deal with,” the minister said.

Maj Gen (Rtd) Nkaissery said the division is a sign of desperation as they seek external support to propel their mission.

The Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet Thursday said the group supporting ISIS is operating near Mandera on the Kenya-Somalia border while the pro-Al-Qaeda one is in Somalia’s southern part and spreads into Boni Forest.

Mr Boinnet said the Mandera gang is led by Isaak Osman Ali alias Okola, Abdifata Basre and Mohamed Bilal while the Al-Qaeda affiliated group is headed by Omar Ahmed Abdumanan.

Maj Gen (Rtd) Nkaissery urged Kenyans to be on the look-out and report any suspicious individuals.

In 2014, end of year festivities were marked by low turnout as visitors to the Coast region shied away because of multiple attacks from the terror group.

“Mombasa and indeed the Coast region is safe for everyone. That is why we have come here to enjoy the peace the region is offering,” the Cabinet secretary said.

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