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Entries in Kenya (32)

Saturday
Mar092013

Kenya Elects Indicted President and VP

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NAIROBI, Kenya) -- Kenya’s electoral commission announced on Saturday the official winner of Monday’s presidential election is Uhuru Kenyatta, who is currently facing trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, as is his running mate William Ruto.  

Both men are accused of instigating violence after the last election in 2007 that killed more than 1,000 people and forced up to 600,000 to flee. 

There has been very little election-related violence in Kenya this week, but the citizens remain cautious to see how the election results are received.  

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov072012

Kenyan Village Cheers Obama Victory as ‘More Meaningful’ Than the First

TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images(KOGELO, Kenya) – Toward the end of an all-night election dance party in this rural village that claims President Barack Obama as a “son of the land,” an exhausted crowd sat shivering under shawls and blankets on plastic lawn chairs, watching the first results come in from America.  There was an unusual hush as early returns showed Mitt Romney ahead, but soon the count changed and the tension broke.  When a television news anchor projected President Obama would be re-elected, a new wave of energy swept over the crowd.

Residents of Kogelo leapt to their feet, singing a traditional Swahili gospel song and waving branches.  They danced over to the home of the president’s late father to celebrate with his 90-year-old step-grandmother.  “Mama Sarah,” as she is known here, beamed proudly at an impromptu press conference for the crush of reporters who have once again descended on the town for reaction from the U.S. president’s Kenyan relatives.

“The first reason why he won is because he is blessed by God. The second one is that he worked hard for his people,” Sarah Obama said through an interpreter.  “This election is more meaningful because it was not just euphoria but the decision of Americans who have seen his work.”

Residents of this typically sleepy village in rural western Kenya are not just celebrating the president’s re-election victory because of a sense of kinship; they said they have high hopes a second term will directly affect their lives.

“He has brought honor and glory to this community.  He has placed this community on the map,” said Sayid Obama, who called himself the president’s uncle.

Kogelo’s connection to the U.S. president has brought it more attention from the Kenyan government and some charity groups.  The village now has a paved road, electricity, new wells, and two new hotels and restaurants serving foreign tourists.

“Many guests have come around. Everyone has benefited. Shopkeepers have been selling small things,” said Nicholas Rajula, who says he was inspired by President Obama to try to find his own success as a businessman.

Rajula recently built the Kogelo Village Resort hotel and says he hopes international interest in the area will increase the pace of development.  Others say they are celebrating a victory for all people of the world — what they believe is evidence of a changing attitude toward race far beyond their village.

“Blacks and whites are the same,” said local teacher Alice Babu.  “It should be a lesson for everyone that we should not underrate people. We are all equal. It is only that given opportunity, then it can be seen.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov062012

All-Night Election-Watch Party in Obama’s Ancestral Village

TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images(KOGELO, Kenya) – The people of this typically sleepy village in rural western Kenya who call President Obama their “favorite son” know this will probably be the last party like this in their lifetime, so they aren’t planning to miss a minute of it.

Hundreds of Kogelo residents are either dancing the night away or are wrapped in shawls and blankets while camping out patiently on plastic lawn chairs in front of a large television screen waiting for election results that aren’t expected to come in before 7 a.m. local time.

Obama’s late father grew up in Kogelo. His step-grandmother, Sarah Obama, and other relatives still live here.

"If Obama wins, this party could go on until Friday,” said Nelly Misiko at the Kogelo Village Resort where the village’s lively election-watch party is being held.  The hotel, recently built for the tourists who now come to Kogelo, is an example of how the historic 2008 election of the first U.S. president with African heritage has changed the village, and why people here are holding prayer vigils for his re-election.

The president wrote about his journey to Kogelo to explore his absent father’s family history in his best-selling memoir, Dreams from My Father. When Obama returned to visit the village again in 2006 as a U.S. senator, little had changed.  But when he became a contender for president two years later, international media descended on the village, and with that attention came development.

The government built a paved road into Kogelo, strung power lines to provide electricity to businesses and homes, and some aid agencies expanded operations to include Kogelo.  In addition to the two new hotels, which were built to accommodate foreign tourists, President Obama’s half-brother Malik Obama has built a new recreation center where the Kenyan flag and U.S. flag fly side-by-side.

Residents of Kogelo are nervously awaiting the results of the U.S. election not only because they feel a kinship with President Obama but also because he is the man who put their village on the map, and they believe more development will come if he spends more time in office.

And if the election doesn’t go the way they hope?

“This party will be over right away, but we don’t believe that can happen,” said Misiko.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct102012

Obama’s Half-Brother Accused of Abducting Son

Win McNamee/Getty Images(NAIROBI, Kenya) -- President Obama’s half brother, who has gained a reputation in Kenya as the family’s ne’er-do-well, is making headlines again.  George Obama, 30, is being sued by his girlfriend who claims he ran off with their 3-year-old son last month and refuses to return him.

According to a Daily Nation reporter, who was inside the Nairobi courtroom, the girlfriend alleges George Obama arrived at her house in the Haruma slum on the boy’s birthday, insisting he must take him to buy a present.  The girlfriend claims George Obama refused to the let the boy’s grandmother and aunt go along, forcing them out of his taxi before driving off.

The girlfriend’s attorney, John Chigiti, told the court that George Obama informed him he wants to the take the child to America.  The judge later barred George Obama from taking the child out of the country and ordered him to bring the child to a court hearing at the end of the month.

George Obama made headlines this summer for his appearance in the conservative film 2016: Obama’s America, which brought in millions of dollars at box offices in the United States.  George Obama agreed to an interview with the filmmaker, Dinesh D’Souza, who criticized the president for a lack of “brotherly love” because he is not financially supporting his half-brother.  George Obama refuses to directly criticize the president in the interview.

D’Souza later admitted to sending $1,000 to George Obama after the interview.  He told Fox News the money was to cover medical expenses for George Obama’s child who was hospitalized with a chest condition.  But $1,000 is a whopping sum of money for residents of the Haruma slum and far exceeds the typical cost of local hospital care for most treatable childhood chest conditions.

In his 2010 autobiography called Homeland, George Obama said he was raised in a well-to-do Nairobi suburb and was a star pupil at a top boarding school, but his life took a turn at age 15 when he was kicked out of boarding school for drug use and joined a gang.

The president and George Obama were raised by different mothers and neither of them knew their father, Barack Obama Sr., who died when George was still a baby.  Separated in age by 20 years, the half-brothers have met twice.  

Neither George Obama nor his girlfriend’s attorney returned calls from ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul192012

Hyena Pack Attacks Sleeping Family in Kenya, Kills Two Kids

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NAIROBI, Kenya) -- A pack of hyenas killed two children and injured six other members of a family when the animals attacked in the middle of the night.

The Kenya Wildlife Service is airlifting one of the survivors, a 10-year-old boy who was mauled in the attack last week, to a hospital in the capital city of Nairobi to get better medical care.

“The boy’s condition has since deteriorated,” said the KWS, which is assisting the family and paying for their medical care.

The family was attacked on July 10 near Dilmanyale village while sleeping inside their traditional family compound, called a manyatta. The KWS said it took immediate action to prevent further attacks by the aggressive animals.

“Rangers pursued and eliminated the hyenas,” the KWS said in a statement.

Hyenas are most commonly known as scavengers that eat the remains of dead animals left by other predators, but as this incident demonstrates, they can also be bold and powerful hunters.  

According to the African Wildlife Foundation, hyenas can weigh up to 190 pounds, and despite their reputation as “laughing” cowards that usually go after the easiest prey, they can be quite dangerous.

The nocturnal hunters are coming into conflict with humans more frequently as the human population increases in Africa.  In some places, especially where they have attacked livestock, hyenas are heavily hunted as pests.  

The KWS said its rangers are working in the community near the recent attack to educate people about ways to prevent conflict with hyenas and other wild animals.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul022012

Iranians Planned to Attack US, Israeli Targets in Kenya: Officials 

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NAIROBI, Kenya) -- Two Iranian men who led officials to a 33 pound stash of explosives in Kenya have now allegedly admitted they were plotting to attack the U.S., Israel, Saudi or British targets there.

Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammad and Sayed Mansour Mousavi, who appeared in a Nairobi court last week, were arrested on June 19 in Nairobi and then led Kenyan authorities to 15 kilograms of explosives in Mombasa. They are believed to be members of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, say Kenyan officials.

Last fall, the U.S. disrupted an alleged plot by the Quds Force to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. in Washington, D.C. Earlier this year, the Azerbaijani government arrested nearly two dozen Iranians who were allegedly plotting attacks on Western targets, and Thai police arrested a group of Iranian nationals after they allegedly attempted to flee a rented residence where bombs had detonated by flinging explosives at a taxi driver and police. Indian police have identified, but not apprehended, three Iranian suspects in the February bombing of an Israeli diplomatic vehicle. Israeli officials say a similar bomb was found on an Israeli vehicle in Tbilisi, Georgia but was defused.

"After Iran sent its people to assassinate the Saudi ambassador on American soil," said the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement Monday, "and carry out attacks in Azerbaijan, Bangkok, Tbilisi and New Delhi, now its intention to carry out attacks in Africa is revealed. The international community needs to fight the world's greatest exporter of terror."

One of the Iranian suspects, Ahmad Mohammad, alleged in court last week that the two men had been interrogated by Israeli agents while under arrest. He also said he was tortured while in detention, which a Kenyan prosecutor denied.

Israelis have long vacationed in Kenya, and some own hotels and retail properties in the country. In 2002, 13 people were killed in the bombing of an Israeli-owned beach hotel in Mombasa.

Over the past several years, at least five scientists linked to the Iranian nuclear program have been killed, and Iran has blamed the U.S., the U.K. and Israel for the attacks. Several were killed using magnetic "sticky" bombs attached to vehicles. Some of the apparent reprisal attacks allegedly carried out by Iranian suspects used the same method.

The arrests of Iranian suspects come in the midst of a series of terror attacks inside Kenya. The U.S. embassy issued an alert on June 22, three days after the men were arrested, warning Americans against travel to Mombasa, ordering government workers out of the city and suspending government travel there through July 1.

On Sunday, June 24, attackers killed three people at a bar near Mombasa. On Sunday, July 1, attackers using grenades and firearms killed 10 people at two churches in the eastern Kenyan town of Garissa, which is 120 miles from the Somalia border and close to a sprawling Somali refugee camp.

These recent attacks and others like them, often involving grenades, are believed to be the work of al Shabaab, the al Qaeda affiliate operating in neighboring Somalia. The Kenyan military launched an offensive against the Somali group last fall, and al Shabaab has threatened to level buildings inside Kenya in retaliation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May162012

Another Grenade Attack in Kenya Kills at Least One, Injures Three

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MOMBASA, Kenya) -- Local police in the coastal city of Mombasa say the latest grenade attack in the country since it sent troops into Somalia last year killed one and injured three others Tuesday night at a restaurant and sports bar. Kenya’s Daily Nation reports there were warnings in the last few months that the Bella Vista restaurant would be targeted.  A witness said the attackers in two cars opened fire first in the parking lot before lobbing three grenades toward the entrance of the building, killing a security guard.

Kenya police blame Somalia’s Al Shabab insurgents and sympathizers for the series of grenade attacks in Nairobi, Mombasa, and near the border with Somalia since last October.  Al Shabab has vowed reprisal attacks on Kenya.  Most of the attacks have been targeted at local Kenyans, though the U.S. Embassy recently warned of a possible attack on hotels or government buildings in Nairobi.

Also Tuesday, at the Dadaab refugee camp near the border with Somalia, a police officer was killed while escorting aid workers when his car was hit by an improvised bomb.  Security challenges in Dadaab are making it difficult for aid organizations working at the world’s largest refugee camp that most people now associate with last year’s famine in the Horn of Africa.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr232012

US Embassy Warns of Terror Threat in Kenya

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Terrorists are believed to be in the final stage of planning an attack in Nairobi, Kenya. That's the new warning from the U.S. government, which is asking citizens there to be on full alert.  

Authorities say the potential attack is targeted at prominent government buildings and hotels frequented by foreigners.  

Since Kenya sent troops into neighboring Somalia last year to go after Al-Shabab militants, there have been several grenade attacks targeting mainly local Kenyans at bus stops, bars and restaurants.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb062012

President Obama’s Grandmother Recovering After Car Accident

SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images(KISUMU, Kenya) -- President Obama’s grandmother, Sarah Obama, is home recovering from a severe auto accident.

“God is with me because if you could have seen the wreckage that we came out of safe, one would wonder,” Sarah said Monday.

Police in the Kenyan town of Kisumu say the 87-year-old was traveling to her home Saturday night when the driver lost control, and the vehicle rolled into a ditch.

All five people in the car, including her two bodyguards, were taken to a hospital for treatment.  All were released with minor injuries.

A hospital spokesperson says Sarah was bruised and in shock when she arrived at the hospital.  She was released about two hours later.

“You can see I was not injured save for this small scar on my right hand and I am not even using a walking stick,” Sarah said.

She said friends from as far away as the United States and the Middle East have been calling to check on her, but she assures them, “Hakuna tabu,” which means "No problem" in Swahili.

Kenya’s Nation Television has broadcast video of the wrecked car and the road where the accident occurred.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan092012

Ex-US Soldier Charged with Aiding Al Qaeda Group

Hemera/Thinkstock(LAUREL, Md.) -- A former U.S. Army soldier and recent convert to Islam was charged Monday with attempting to join an al Qaeda-linked terrorist group in Somalia. The indictment of Craig Baxam, 24, comes just days after the Kenyan and British governments announced they were seeking several British citizens who had allegedly joined the same terror group, al Shabaab, and plotted attacks in Kenya.

Baxam, who appeared in federal court in Maryland, faces a charge of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist group. Authorities alleged that Baxam flew to Kenya with the intention of crossing into Somalia to join al Shabaab, which has been responsible for terror attacks in Somalia, Kenya and Uganda.

Baxam, from Laurel, Maryland, served four years in the Army before being discharged last July. In December, according to U.S. authorities, Baxam was arrested by Kenyan police in a small coastal town near the Somalia border. Baxam had already been to Somalia, according to the criminal complaint, and told federal agents that he had donated between $600 and $700 to al Shabaab.

Last week, the British government warned of al Shabaab attacks inside Kenya, and Kenyan authorities announced that they had arrested suspected terrorists and issued arrest warrants for others.

One of those wanted for suspected ties to terrorism is a British mother of three who converted to Islam. Kenyan police issued an arrest warrant on Jan. 4 for 26-year-old Natalie Faye Webb, alleging that Webb had links to known Shabaab terrorists. Kenyan police provided Kenyan media with a South African passport that they said Webb had used to enter the country in 2011.

According to London's Sunday Times, UK citizen and Muslim convert Jermaine Grant was arrested in Mombasa, Kenya, by Kenyan police. He was reportedly radicalized in the same UK prison as convicted "shoe bomber" Richard Reid. Bomb-making materials were allegedly found at Grant's home when he was arrested.

Al Shabaab, which means the "lads" in Arabic, has waged a decade-long insurgency inside Somalia and more recently has conducted attacks outside the lawless country. In 2010 an al Shabaab suicide attack killed more than 76 people in Kampala, Uganda.

The group recently announced that they were sending teams of attackers to the Kenyan capital of Nairobi in response to the recent Kenyan military incursion into southern Somalia.

British authorities have warned UK nationals in Kenya to be on guard after the Kenyan government alerted the public to an increased threat of attacks in Nairobi. The UK's Foreign Office said it urged Britons to "exercise extra vigilance and caution in public places."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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