Today from Hiiraan Online:  _
Two Britons arrested in Kenya for 'helping' Somali terrorists

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Two British nationals were today accused of helping terrorists linked to al Qaeda after being arrested trying to cross the Kenyan border to Somalia.

The men are believed to be supporters of al Shabab, the fundamentalist group which seeks to impose Sharia law and has been accused of killing thousands of civilians in the areas of Somalia it controls.

The arrests came against the background of the largest foreign deployment by the Kenyan military since independence from Britain in 1963.

Hundreds of troops launched an offensive against al Shabab fighters in southern Somalia after a string of kidnappings of Westerners.

"We suspect they are co-ordinating the activities of al Shabab," said Kenyan police spokesman Charles Owino. "Or maybe they were passing on information to these people."

The men are from Cardiff and UK passport holders. Police said one is of Somali descent and the other Pakistani. South Wales Police are liaising with their families and the Kenyan authorities to get more details about their detention. "The identities of these persons have yet to be formally confirmed," a spokesman said.

The arrests came as al Shabab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage warned that the "flames of war" could spill over into Kenya. "Your skyscrapers will be destroyed, your tourism will disappear. We shall inflict on you the same damage you inflicted on us," he said.

Kenya moved two battalions of about 800 troops across the border on Sunday. Tanks, helicopters and artillery have also been deployed.

Emmanuel Chirchir, a Kenyan military spokesman, would only say there were "sufficient" troops in Somalia. He would not disclose their objective. Witnesses said hundreds of al Shabab fighters were making their way towards Kenyan forces.

Four Europeans, two aid workers and two tourists have recently been taken from Kenyan soil. Briton Judith Tebbutt was taken last month by gunmen who killed her husband. The kidnappings have hit Kenya's tourism industry, the country's third biggest foreign exchange earner last year.


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