NAIROBI – Al-Shabaab’s media wing, Al-Kataib, released a video yesterday, “Itakuwa”. The 30 minute video contains surprisingly few gory photos and focuses almost exclusively on the militant group’s Kenyan emir, Ahmed Amin Ali. He explains to a group of uniformed fighters (and potential recruits watching the video) why the group carried out the deadly attack last month at el-Adde, a Kenyan military camp in Somalia.
Initially Al-Shabaab claimed to have killed 100. One month on the Kenyan government has yet to divulge the official death toll. A source close to the Kenya Defense Forces said that DNA samples were taken from the remains of 143 bodies recovered at the scene, adding that 58 had survived.
The translator I chose is a former KDF officer from western Kenya, who fought on the front lines against al-Shabaab in Somalia soon after Kenya’s invasion in 2011. He now works for a private security company in Nairobi.
The following translation is interpretive and not word-for-word. For the sake of clarity, I refer to a translation provided by the al Qaida-allied Global Islamic Media Foundation, via the Long War Journal. During the emir’s lecture the militants shouting “Allah Wakbar”. My translator detected their accents were neither Somali nor coast Kenyans, but belonging to “upcountry” Kenyans. While Amin Ali lived in Nairobi’s Majengo area, he speaks fluent and traditional Swahili typical of Kenyan and Tanzanians from the Kenya coast. He uses words such “Nusura” – Swahili/Arabic for ‘God will save us from the enemy’ and ‘Bugdha’, meaning’ God’s wrath’.
Sheikh Ahmed Amin Ali:
‘We have warned Kenyans again and again of an attack but they didn’t heed the warning’.
The success of the attack was beyond his expectations, the emir said.
‘Everything I am wearing now – from the boots, combat uniform, pouches, to the rifle – are all war booty. The only item which belongs to me is my head scarf’.
I am informing the family of the man who owned this rifle – butt number 0490 – that the gear belonged to this soldier.
Kenyans have been told over and over they will be victims of al-Shabaab, just as Burundians, Ethiopians, and Ugandans.
Al Shabaab was able to defeat by faith and not by firepower as was evidenced by attacks Uganda and Ugandans fled. KDF had prior info of the attack as all of them had combat gear on from helmut, pouches , boots and firearms. El Addee will be etched in Kenyan history in the same way Westgate and Mpekatoni has.
Al-Shabaab is in forefront of re-writing Kenya’s history; they [al-Shabaab] will indoctrinate their offspring to kill Kenyans, mostly “makafiri” (Christians or non-Muslims).
The former KDF translator said because of prior intelligence of an impending attack soldiers were on high alert during the night, dozing with their rifles in hand. But as dawn approached they concluded they made it through the night, and let down their guard. That’s when the attack occurred.
Amin Ali goes on to say Al-Shabaab subdued the camp [at el-Adde] and a number of KDF soldiers abandoned of their firearms. Uhuru Kenyatta is a messenger/tool who works at the behest of western countries including America, France, and the rest …
Mpekatoni is [a town] largely inhabited by members of his [Kenyatta’s] ethnic Kikuyu tribe. The Kenyan government is perpetually full of lies; they claimed that Mpekatoni was not an al-Shabaab attack. Two hours after the attack [KDF spokesman] claimed that al-Shabaab had attacked the Somali National Army, yet in truth it was the KDF camp.
The emir goes on to say SNA soldiers had deserted their camp by dawn. The number of KDF dead was estimated at 200 according, to the SNA commander’s word.
“We [al-Shabaab] will not release the numbers from their side because this was a massive attack and exceeded our expectations.
“The Kenyan government went ahead to guard the issue and to declare laws on media outlets on electronic gadgets of spreading images and information relating to el-Adde attack”.
The President was firm in stating Kenyans will not be cowed, but they were afraid of the photos of the dead soldiers that were doing rounds on social media. If indeed Uhuru is the commander-in-chief he should go to battle and fight alongside his troops as al-Shabaab commanders, who have gained experience of the thrust of war.
Mujahideen fighters should trust the word of Allah that allows punishment of Kenyans for KDF soldiers to be delivered into Allah’s hands. Fighters should have faith in Allah to defeat enemies. They should not put all their belief in the weapons but believe in Allah.
The leader, Amin Ali, cites recent injustices against Muslims in Kenya.
“Our sister who was pregnant was thrown by kafir from the third floor of a tall building in Eastleigh. Another sister in same area was also thrown from a tall building breaking her spine. In Mandera KDF captured a woman, our mother of five. They raped her forces raped her, butchered her and left her in an isolated grave”
(The translator notes that the Mandera woman’s demise by security forces was an extrajudicial killing)
Kenyans took themselves into Somalia and so will have to face the consequences. The Kenya government was not truthful to the families of the deceased. The families therefore should not call the government for information, but call al-Shabaab directly. We will deliver the informed truth.
Amin Ali displays the ID cards of 11 KDF soldiers, mentioning each by name. With each name the audience of fighters shouts their upcountry ethnicity.
“In Kenya blood will ooze in every area and every region”.
We are a pride of lions and we will penetrate Kenya up to state house, if necessary.
Categories: Conflict In Context - Field Notes