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Al-Shabaab militants are cowards, says President Yoweri Museveni

By Ally Jamah | June 2nd 2015
Deputy President William Ruto ( left ) with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni after Madaraka Day celebrations at Nyayo Stadium Nairobi 01/06/15 [PHOTO/MOSES OMUSULA/STANDARD]

Al-Shabaab attacks on innocent civilians in Kenya are the last desperate tactics by terrorists who have been defeated, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has said.

Speaking yesterday during the Madaraka Day celebrations, President Museveni said the militant group has turned to soft targets since it no longer has the capacity to attack military and police targets.

He cited the recent horrific attack at Garissa University College in which at least 150 people, mostly unarmed students, were killed as well as the attack on a Kampala night club a few years ago that left at least 74 people dead, as a sign of inherent defeat of the militant group.

He said that if the terrorist group had sense, they would now seek negotiations with the relevant authorities instead of continuing their campaign of terrorism.

"But if you are stupid like Al-Shabaab, you start attacking innocent people since you cannot face the armed security forces. This is clear evidence of their defeat. It is only a matter of time before they are completely eliminated," he said.

The Ugandan leader hinted that governments in the region would soon provide a solution to the frequent Al-Shabaab attacks on soft targets.

In recent article published in a Ugandan daily after the Garissa attack, Museveni suggested the need to extend military training to civilians to enable them resists attacks from terrorist groups as a possible solution. He said he would share the article with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

He said that even if mass training across the whole country is not possible, such a tactic can be implemented in areas where terrorist threats are highest.

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Museveni also likened Al-Shabaab to a "a jigger infestation on the feet" of Kenya and other countries in the region that should be removed surgically rather than "cutting the whole foot" .

This was a hint suggesting that counter-terrorism measures should not be about collective punishment of whole populations but should be focused on the bad elements who should be targeted and eliminated.

"Anybody who suspects all Muslims because of a few Muslim criminals is wrong," he said.

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