Two men who were allegedly involved in the recent attacks on a World Cup viewing party have been detained by Kenyan Authorities. The two men were linked to the minibuses used to carry out the assault, which resulted in the deaths of 65 people in a span of two days. One man is the owner of one of the vehicles while the other is a driver of the other minibus.
The first attack took place on the Sunday evening, June 15, in the town of Mpeketoni. Reports suggest that around 50 people were killed, with around nine people still missing and numerous in critical conditions. The attacks were targeted at a television hall showing the FIFA World Cup, banks, police stations and hotels. Men threw explosives into the police headquarters before entering to steal their weapons. The attackers seemed to concentrate fire from their weapons only on men. Apparently the attackers were asking people to prove if they were Muslim and if not convinced they executed the victims. Just 24 hours later, they attacked a nearby village and torched homes. Killing at least another 15 more with many fleeing into the forest for safety.
Kenyan authorities are reported to be interrogating the pair of men involved in the attacks partially aimed at a World Cup viewing party. In a statement the Somalian group Al-Shabaab, who is strongly linked to Al-Queda and has already taken responsibility for the attacks, said its operations are intended to push Kenya into withdrawing their troops from Somalia, something the country has previously said it will not do.
Witnesses have said there were around 30 gunmen who were speaking in both English and Arabic. A witness also described a white man who spoke fluent English leading the attackers. This kind of account strengthens the case that members of Somalia’s Al-Shabab Islamist group directed the attacks. The group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta believes the attacks were orchestrated by his in-state political rivals in an act of ethnic violence. Political tensions in Kenya have risen recently because the worsening security of the nation as well as deteriorating economic and political situation.
Kanyatta is an ethnic Kikuyu and his comments were widely seen as referring to Raila Odinga, an ethic Lou and his primary rival in last year’s presidential race. Odinga has held a series of political rallies since he recently returned from abroad, which has charged the political atmosphere. Odinga is worried that by unjustifiably shifting the blame on to his political rivals, the president will likely compromise the methodology of the investigation.
Kenya had previously blamed Al-Shabaab for a number of bomb and gun attacks in recent months as well as the notorious Westgate shopping mall attack last September in Nairobi that killed 67 people. That attack coincidentally also had initial reports of a white person speaking English leading the gunmen, but that time it was a woman who many thought could possibly be Samantha Lewthwaite. She is the most wanted woman in the world and reported living in Somolia, but CCTV footage showed no connections.
Al-Shabab was also responsible for another World Cup soccer attack when a crowd in the Ugandan capital of Kampala was bombed in 2010, killing 77 people. Like Kenya, Uganda also has troops in Somalia. Many hope that the pair of men being detained by Kenyan authorities will lead to some usable information to find out why these attacks are taking place and can lead to justice before another may strike during the World Cup.
By B. Taylor Rash