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Al Shabaab threatens to kill captives

COUNTIES
By - | January 27th 2013

By Kipchumba Some

KENYA: On February 14, while the rest of the world will be celebrating Valentines Day, the Mule family will be anxiously waiting for news from faraway Somalia.

On this day the Al Shabab militants have threatened to execute their son, Edward Yesse Mule.

Mr Mule, the youthful District Officer of Burderi District in Wajir, has been in the hands of the Al Shabab for a year now and the insurgents this week issued a threat to execute him and other Kenyans in their captivity if their demands were not met. In a video clip, Kenyans Pows: Final Message, Mule, speaking on behalf of the Kenyan captives, pleaded with the Government to heed the group’s demands. 

Seated beside him was Mr Fredrick Irungu Wainaina, a Registrar of Persons official in the same district with who they were abducted.

Evening incident

The January 12, 2011, evening incident in which more than 100 heavily armed militants stormed an Administration Police station in Gerille, Wajir County, and killed six people remains the deadliest attack by the militants on Kenyan soil since Operation Linda Nchi began.

The threat comes a week after the militant group executed Dennis Allex,  a French Intelligence officer, who they kidnapped in 2009, in reaction to a failed rescue attempt by French special forces.  And now the families of the Kenyan abductees are doubly worried.

“It is good to know that he is still alive,” said Mr Yesse Mule, the younger Mule’s father, “ but the video worries me sick now.  We as a family pray for his safety but we hope the Government has concrete plans to resolve the issue,” he says.

The group gave three conditions that the Government is unlikely to meet: One, to release all Muslim prisoners held on terrorism charges; Two, that the Government secures the release of all Muslim prisoners extradited to Uganda on the same charges and finally, that the releases be made public.

However, soon after the group made its demands, the KDF Spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna rebuffed the militants with the standard answer governments throughout the world give to terrorist organisations: “we do not negotiate with terrorists.”

The Government estimates that there could be upto ten Kenyans in the hands of the militant group, including two Kenya Defence Force soldiers who were abducted in June last year, three months before the Government commenced the military operation against them.

Terrorist groups normally do not execute their hostages; they usually hold them for ransom or for surrender negotiations purposes. For example, the French government is said to have been in negotiations with the group for the release of their Intelligence officer until they decided to mount the botched operation to liberate him.

The Government has in the past stated that, though it would not directly engage with the group, it had intimated that it would use backdoor channels, such as engaging respected Somali clan elders, to secure the release of the prisoners. But these efforts have borne little fruit so far, much to the chagrin of Rose, the wife of Sergeant Jonathan Kipkosgei Kangogo, a KDF soldier who was abducted last June with his colleague Corporal Evans Mutoro when they strayed in to Somalia on a routine supply mission.

 

Young officer

“I recognised my husband in the photograph that I saw,” says Rose. I did not see him speak but at least I hope he is alive,” she adds.

In Misikhu, Bungoma, Corporal Mutoro’s brother in-law Mr Erastus Kasemberi says he recognised the young officer in the picture that featured four people.

He reveals that initially the militants had been calling Corporal Mutoro’s wife, urging her to “speak” with the Government to have her husband released. However, he says the calls stopped coming six months ago. The two soldiers, who have since been classified as missing or captured, are from the Transport Battalion at Kahawa Garrison.

They fell into the hands of the militant group on the morning of July 24 last year after they escaped from the custody of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government forces who had initially intercepted them on suspicion that they were Al-Shabaab elements after they strayed 100km in to Somalia.

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