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How Failed American and British Counter-Terrorism Strategies Have Nurtured Islamic Terrorism in Lamu and Inflamed Morbid Persecution of Kikuyu Christians

The American counter-terrorism strategy exported to Africa is purposely designed – either through hubristic malice or gallant naivety – to turn an African nation into a modern South Vietnam – a nation whose survival and existence depend entirely on American support and goodwill.

Antony Kagirison

In Lamu, a toxic triad of failed Anglo-American counter-terrorism strategies implemented by Kenyan security forces, Islamist-tinged ethno-nationalism, and the need to placate Somalis has led to the mass killings of Kikuyu and other non-Muslims; and the Government of Kenya (GoK) seems unable to protect Kenyan citizens from Muslim terrorists. Why and how could a government stand by and watch its citizens being killed and displaced by Islamist terrorists? Why are GoK, the American, and the British governments opposed to training, arming, and organizing civilians in Lamu into anti-terrorist militia? Popular anti-terrorism militia have spearheaded victories against Islamist terrorists in Syria, Iraq, and China’s Xinjiang, as well as saved Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso from collapsing under Islamist terror. So, can Kenya free itself from the current paradigm lock on matters of counter-terrorism and stealth jihad?

The current counter-terrorism paradigm implemented by GoK can be summed up in the following ten words:

Placate the Somali Muslim, Let the Kikuyu Christian be Slaughtered

Sunni Clerics commit themselves to “liberate” Lamu from “foreigners”. Foreigner is a euphemism for Kikuyu Christians. These clerics are using coded language to call for Lamu to become Dar-al-Islam (an abode of Muslims only). VIDEO CREDIT: COURTESY.
Al-Shabaab terrorists overrunning a Kenyan police camp in Lamu. One of the terrorists states that he is from Mombasa and he is liberating Lamu in an effort to transform Lamu and Coastal Kenya into Dar-al-Islam. CREDIT: Al-Shabaab Propaganda Multimedia.

The American counter-terrorism strategy exported to Africa is purposely designed – either through hubristic malice or gallant naivety – to turn an African nation into a modern South Vietnam – a nation whose survival and existence depend entirely on American support and goodwill. The British counter-terrorism strategy is even worse – it is biased towards promoting Islamism. Adoption of this British counter-terrorism strategy in Somalia explains why to join the elite of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), one must have cut his teeth in Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (HSM) as a jihadi militant. Basically, the British strategy has turned HSM into a training organization for future FGS officials.

How Failed British Counter-Terrorism Strategy Fostered Islamism in Nigeria

In Nigeria, the British counter-terrorism strategy favors providing a political route to “repentant” Boko Haram jihadis to join mainstream Nigerian politics, even allowing them to become the President or Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In Cornflakes for Jihad: The Boko Haram Origin Story, the Nigerian investigative journalist, David Hundeyin, reveals how the mainstreaming of Islamists leads to mass killings of Christians as Islamists use their political influence to damage the nation from within.

In Nigeria, this mainstreaming of Islamists in the political, economic, and security domains has allowed Fulani jihadis to invade farmlands and settlements of Christians across Northern and Central Nigeria where they have killed hundreds of thousands and displaced many more, even turning some areas in Kaduna state into ghost settlements. According to the Global Terrorism Index, the Fulani Jihadis (colloquially called Fulani herdsmen) are the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the entire world. In Kenya, Somali Islamists are using the same modus operandi as the Fulani herdsmen, while failed counter-terrorism strategies implemented by GoK continue to mainstream them in the political, economic, and security domains.

The British follow the French counter-terrorism model of mainstreaming jihadis who agree to work with the French government. This explains why a former terrorist who wanted to destroy Mali and Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, was voted as the President of Niger in an election with a voter turnout of less than 65%. This turnout was due to vast swathes of Nigerien territory being under the control of al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorists, thus denying the people in these areas an opportunity to vote. Essentially, jihadi control of Nigerien territory ensured that Bazoum won the elections, and he would have likely lost the elections if jihadis had been expelled from Niger. Bazoum won in Agadez, Tahoua, Maradi, and Diffa, which were regions where terrorists, including Boko Haram, had established a foothold. This may explain Bazoum’s feigned inability to fight jihadis in Niger, despite the ongoing Operation Juniper Shield – a fickle multi-national counter-terrorism campaign against al-Qaeda, Islamic State, and their affiliates.

Hordes of al-Qaeda terrorists raid the military base at Djilo, Burkina Faso. This video was shared by French and European counter-terrorism “experts” to show that without French support, Burkina Faso would collapse. Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali rejected the failed American and French counter-terrorism strategies this year.

When Nigeriens protested the refusal of Bazoum to fight Tuareg and Al-Qaeda terrorists, the military intervened and deposed him on July 27, 2023. The military then planned to charge Bazoum with high treason – a charge that would have likely resulted in the death penalty. In a fit of rage, France threatened to invade Niger to restore Bazoum to power. This forced the new Nigerien government to keep Bazoum in custody but the plans to charge him with treason were dropped. The Nigerien government on October 20, 2023, announced that it had foiled an attempt by Bazoum to escape custody and flee to Nigeria.

Britain and the United States government (USG) asked Nigeria to spearhead an invasion of Niger to restore Bazoum to power. Nigeria proposed using ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) to spearhead the invasion of Niger – an unwise action that would have benefitted the Islamists and destabilized Nigeria itself. In reaction, the people of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso (another nation afflicted with Islamic terrorism) joined hands to launch a joint anti-terrorism campaign that has killed thousands of terrorists and liberated territories that were occupied by terrorists (including Kidal which was has been in the hands of terrorists since 2012).

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Corpses of dead terrorists who raided Djilo. Burkina Faso used drone strikes to kill the terrorists. Neither Kenya nor Nigeria has effectively used drones to fight terrorists. PHOTO CREDIT: Military of Burkina Faso.
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A soldier stands near the corpses of dead Muslim terrorists killed in Djilo. PHOTO CREDIT: Military of Burkina Faso.

South Vietnam Army of East Africa

By adopting the failed American and British counter-terrorism strategies, Kenya has turned its Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) into the equivalent of the South Vietnam Army of East Africa – a military that cannot win any conventional or asymmetric war, but is heavy into self-congratulatory rhetoric and issuing empty threats. Equally, this vitiated KDF has lost territory to al-Shabaab in Somalia while in Kenya, it has been unable to dislodge al-Shabaab from Lamu and North-Eastern Kenya despite suffering a great loss of lives and treasure.

Al-Shabaab terrorists document how they ambushed Kenyan security personnel traveling in a Mine-Resistent Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle in Boni Forest, Lamu. CREDIT: Al-Shabaab Propaganda Multimedia.
Al-Shabaab terrorists document how they ambushed Kenyan security personnel traveling in a soft-skinned lorry in Lamu. CREDIT: Al-Shabaab Propaganda Multimedia.

The (Kenyan) Government Fed Us To The Dogs”

“We came from Somalia to Lamu to kill all Kikuyu and those that we do not kill, we will expel from these lands which belong to us. We started the killings last month, and we are continuing it until no Kikuyu remains in Lamu”, said a masked terrorist in Kiswahili spoken with heavy Somali ascent. This terrorist said this after he had shot and killed a Kikuyu man at around midnight on July 5, 2014, in Hindi. The person who told me this was a victim of Islamic terrorism radiating from Somalia and seeping into Kenya through its porous national borders. The situation has been made worse by the disastrous anti-terrorism policies adopted by GoK and the timid political leadership that fears confronting the problem of terrorism in Lamu.

By adopting the failed American and British counter-terrorism strategies, Kenya has turned its Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) into the equivalent of the South Vietnam Army of East Africa – a military that cannot win any conventional or asymmetric war, but is heavy into self-congratulatory rhetoric and issuing empty threats.

A few weeks prior – on June 15, 2014, armed terrorists belonging to the Somali terror organization – al-Shabaab (the popular designation of HSM) – invaded Mpeketoni town in Lamu and selected Christians for mass executions. The next day, the terrorists killed 15 people on the outskirts of Mpeketoni. What puzzled the victimized people was the casual manner in which local security officials handled the situation.

“The government fed us to the dogs”, said Raphael Munyua when expressing his frustration with the base commander of the paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU) who refused to come to the aid of civilians during the al-Shabaab attack on Mpeketoni town. A local political activist, Johnson Ndolokani, concurred with Munyua, and added, “The casual manner in which they (Al-Shabaab terrorists) went about their business suggests they were very sure police were not going to come in”. What Ndolokani expressed was a suspicion among the local Christians that some members of Kenyan security services were working with al-Shabaab to evict Kikuyu, Akamba, Luo, and Mijikenda communities from Lamu.

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Lamu locals inspect a church that was burnt by the Somali terror organization, al-Shabaab. PHOTO CREDIT: Reuters via BBC.

The victimized Christians also suspected that the political leadership was involved in the attacks. The then-governor of Lamu, Issa Timamy, was suspected of working with terrorists from Somalia and was arrested on June 25, 2014, just after he met President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House in Nairobi to discuss the security situation in his county. On June 26, 2014, Timamy was officially charged with terrorism in a Mombasa court and was to remain in police custody for 5 more days. This is despite Timamy belonging to a political party that was part of the ruling Jubilee Coalition – the political coalition that secured victory for President Kenyatta in the 2013 General Elections. Timamy – an ethnic Bajuni – was also charged with murder and forceful transfer of populations, the legal euphemism for ethnic cleansing. Lamu locals also accused Somalis and Oromos of perpetrating the attacks as part of an al-Shabaab offensive to transform Lamu into a Somali-dominated county.

“Some of my neighbors stumbled on bodies of beheaded Dahalo men in Boni forest some years back and they never knew who killed them. However, they were killed using the same method that al-Shabaab used to kill their Kikuyu victims”, my source told me.

Dahalo, also called Aweer, are a hunter-gatherer community numbering about 3500 individuals who live in Boni Forest. They have been accused of working with al-Shabaab with GoK officials expressing frustrations for “finding it hard to get information from (this) community” concerning al-Shabaab terrorists who have established a presence in Boni forest. In fact, it has been reported that al-Shabaab is “building mosques and digging wells” for the Aweer, which reveals that Aweer and al-Shabaab bond together. Is this bond formed against Kenyans?

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Al-Shabaab released a video testament that showed its terrorists killing Christians in Mpeketoni in June 2014. PHOTO COURTESY.

In 1964 during the Somali-Kenya war that popularly came to be called the Shifta War, the Awer were accused by a local Lamu politician of “guiding shiftas (Somali terrorists) through the forest” so that they could attack Pandanguo. A recent analysis authored by April Zhu and Theo Aalders and published in Guernica under the title Vanishing Line reveal that little has changed, and one of the reasons that al-Shabaab cannot be cleared from Boni forest is the support it receives from the Aweer. This also means that GoK has never managed to regain control of the entire Boni Forest after al-Shabaab invaded it in 2014. Consequently, al-Shabaab still kills Christians in Lamu to this day.

“We know some of the people who financed and facilitated the al-Shabaab attack in Mpeketoni”, my source told me, and added, “that owner of Modern Coast bus company is not a good person and he wants Kenya to become a terrorist playground like Somalia”. The then-owner of Modern Coast Express Limited, a bus company, was Shahid “Mohamed” Pervez Butt, a prominent businessman whom some described as a Deobandi Sunni. Butt met his end in a hail of bullets on July 11, 2014, just outside Changamwe police station, and there were rumors that he was killed by agents from a special anti-terrorism squad that had been created to assassinate known Muslim terrorists. Regardless, on July 19, 2014, al-Shabaab terrorists continued their attacks in Lamu, this time ambushing a bus and killing 30 Christians.

The profiling of Kenyan Christians by Somali terrorists did not go unnoticed by the Church. In April 2015, Cardinal John Njue, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Reverend Joseph Nthombura, and Reverend David Gathanju representing the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, and Presbyterian denominations – along with Reverend Rosemary Mbogo of the National Council of Churches of Kenya – publicly admitted that there is “systematic profiling, isolation and massacre of Christians in different parts of Kenya (principally North-Eastern and Coast regions)”. A Christian cleric in Garissa noted that al-Shabaab is “anti-Christian” and it repeatedly proves this by “their act of killing Christians and letting Muslims go”.

Mandera and Xinjiang

In 2014, Islamic terrorists were on the offensive across Africa and Asia.

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Boko Haram terrorists drive an armored combat vehicle they captured from the Nigerian Army. PHOTO CREDIT: AFP via BBC.

The self-proclaimed Islamic State (then called the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, ISIL) was beheading Shia civilians, massacring Yazidi people, and engaging in mass rape of Yazidi and Christian women across Syria and Iraq.

In Mali and Niger, al-Qaeda was conducting lethal offensives against Malians and Nigeriens, while in Nigeria, Boko Haram was on the offensive and had overrun several military bases, killing thousands of Nigerian soldiers in the process as its leader, Abubakar Shekau, sought to establish a caliphate in Borno.

In Mali, Niger, and Nigeria, the terrorists received support from communities residing in these nations. Ironically, the American, French, and British governments wanted these communities to be spared from anti-terrorism offensives.

To defeat Islamist terrorists, Syria, Mali, and Niger abandoned the anti-terrorism strategies advocated by the American, British, and French governments. They rightly deciphered that the United States Government (USG) did not want them to defeat al-Qaeda or the Islamic State, but instead wanted them to technically weaken the terrorists while remaining vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Nigeria – on the other hand – stuck with Anglo-American approved counter-terrorism strategy and now swathes of Northern Nigeria are technically a war zone where entire villages are wiped out. Moreover, frustrated Nigerian soldiers have run a secret mass abortion programme against Muslim women in Borno state due to the belief that terrorism is genetically ordained i.e if the father is a terrorist, then his child will grow to be a terrorist and thus it is best to kill the baby or unborn fetus.

The profiling of Kenyan Christians by Somali terrorists did not go unnoticed by the Church. In April 2015, …the National Council of Churches of Kenya – publicly admitted that there is “systematic profiling, isolation and massacre of Christians in different parts of Kenya”. A Christian cleric in Garissa noted that al-Shabaab is “anti-Christian” and it repeatedly proves this by “their act of killing Christians and letting Muslims go”.

American Non-Commitment to Destroy Islamic Terrorism

“Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy”, said President Barack Hussein Obama in September 2014.

Syrians were the first to realize that the word degrade meant that Americans were only interested in ensuring that ISIL was weakened so that it could not conduct attacks against the American homeland or Western Europe. However, ISIL would still be allowed to exist to terrorize Syrians.

Syrians, Iraqis, and Iranians were acutely endangered by ISIL in 2014, and Americans were not genuinely committed to “ultimately destroy” ISIL because they – alongside Israelis and Saudis – regarded ISIL terrorists as useful tools for weakening the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

In late 2014, Syria was wholly committed to securing Russian assistance to defeat ISIL.

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ISIL burned the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Ninevah in an attempt to cleanse the region of Christians and its Christian heritage. PHOTO CREDIT: Catholic Herald.

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