By now you have had extensive coverage on the Westgate mall attack allegedly by the Alshabab militia from Somalia. A british woman with a morbid nickname has also been bandied about as being the mastermind and commander of the attacker.
The shock and horror of the attack has attracted international media attention with most media houses pitching camp and broadcasting developments live. The Westgate mall is a western styled mall with all kinds of shops, bank outlets and eateries that are not exactly cheap. Most frequent shoppers there are in the middle to upper class tranches of the population and this is possibly why it was targeted in the first place. The response to the attack says it all with an array of foreigners clad in flak jackets next to the Kenyan Authorities not clear who was leading whom. The mall is owned by Israeli interests and the anti zionist diatribe that I have encountered on some outlets points to a deeper reason for the attack than the alleged retaliation for the invasion into Somalia.
This fight has squarely brought the religious struggle to the door step of the mostly indifferent middle and upper class whose daily problems involve traffic jams and poor service at coffee shops. Those living on the fringes of the country especially closer to the Somali border have gotten used to the sounds and effects of gunshots, grenades and such instability as most of us would not imagine.
There have been several attacks in the past attributed to the group that have not really received extended media attention due to them being mostly targeted at the working class folk and involving fairly small arms. The exception is of-course the Uganda Bombings during the world cup because these involved suicide bombers. Kenya has largely evaded these types of jihadist tactics due to the non-meddling nature of relations with her neighbours.
This obviously changed with our occupation of parts of Somalia in a bid to root out the Al Shabab terror group. The narrative that invading Somalia is what caused the targeting is however rather not very rich in facts and legitimacy. The Ethiopian conflict over the Ogaden region with Somalis has been ongoing since the 16th century. I am yet to hear of an Alshabab attack in Addis. This may be due to the locked down nature of Ethiopian security and their no nonsense government or it could be Kenya has been dragged into a proxy war that is possibly just about a fight for economic resources. Give it a few years and we will hear Somalia has more Oil and Gas than the rest of us.
We are now unfortunately smack in the middle of the “Global War on Terror” once again. Its like the license was renewed.