Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fertile Ground to Enlist Youth for Militias - U.S. Cables

The Nation

March  25, 2011

Kenya is a fertile ground for recruiting youths to join extremist groups such as the al-Shabaab, a US embassy cable has revealed.

According to the leaked diplomatic cable, Kenyans have expressed frustration at lack of concern or follow-up by authorities over the matter.

The June 2009 cable reveals the US believed there are a number of factors that made Kenya a fruitful source for recruiting young men to al-Shabaab.

These factors include the country's proximity to Somalia, its sizeable population of ethnic Somalis, high levels of poverty and unemployment.

"A history of poor governance, and a worrisome youth bulge all contribute to the risk factors," US ambassador Michael Ranneberger wrote in the cables.

"Kenya's ethnic Somali population in particular suffer from lower levels of development and education than their fellow Kenyans. Idle, unemployed youth are at particular risk."

In addition, the continuing legacy of the Shifta Wars in the 1960s were some of the contributing factors to Kenyan Somalis' lower level of development, and which also leaves them feeling like outsiders in their country of birth.

The leaked diplomatic cables reveal two of the recruits from Kenya were behind two suicide bombings in Somalia between February and May 2008, killing 21 people, mostly African Union Mission in Somalia peacekeepers.

By the time Mr Ranneberger sent this information to Washington in June 2009, an estimated 60 Kenyan youths mostly of Somali origin had disappeared to join al-Shabaab.

The recruitment ring had deep roots in Isiolo, a town the American government least expected to hold suspected al-Shabaab operatives.

The discovery was a wake-up call to the US, which had ordinarily trained its sights on Nairobi's Eastleigh estate and North Eastern Province as the nerve centres of the recruitment.

"While we have been focused on Nairobi's Eastleigh suburb and the North Eastern Province as particular areas of concern, new information indicates that al-Shabaab recruitment efforts may have also reached Isiolo," the cable captures the shock of Mr Ranneberger's discovery.

The cable quotes an Isiolo businessman, who divulged details of the recruitment to the US government.

The businessman knew the two suicide bombers -- Mr Tawakhal Ahmed, 25 and Mr Yusuf Mohammed Warsame, 26 - responsible for the two suicide missions that killed 15 peacekeepers, four civilians and injured a dozen others on February 22 and May 24, 2008.

A third recruit was only 12 year old when he joined the radical group. He refused to come home with his mother when she went after him in Kismayo, Somalia.

"Recruitment in Isiolo, he said, is directed from a radical mosque in Eastleigh, but carried out by members of four radical mosques in Isiolo," he said.


Post a Comment

Fadlan Aragtidaada Halkan ku Qor

Dalkayaga News