Al-Shabaab tries to mislabel Kenyan forces as 'invaders' of Somalia

By Mahmoud Mohamed in Mogadishu

September 17, 2012

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Attempts by al-Shabaab to convince Somalis that the Kenyan military intervention in Somalia is an "occupying force" reflect deep frustration within the group, analysts say.

  • Kenya Defence Forces soldiers man their position outside Tabda, Somalia. Al-Shabaab has tried to portray Kenyan forces as occupiers although they are operating under UN mandate. [William Davies/AFP]

    Kenya Defence Forces soldiers man their position outside Tabda, Somalia. Al-Shabaab has tried to portray Kenyan forces as occupiers although they are operating under UN mandate. [William Davies/AFP]

Since Somali and Kenyan forces operating under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have advanced towards Kismayo, one of the last remaining al-Shabaab strongholds, al-Shabaab has started a media campaign alleging that the Kenyan forces are invaders who want to occupy Somalia.

On Twitter, the group frequently refers to the Somali National Army as an "apostate militia" and AMISOM troops as "invaders", particularly focusing their verbal attacks on the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF).

"In its war against Islam, Kenya has crossed boundaries beyond where it can profitably venture & the war will not stop at the colonial border," the group said on its Twitter account July 30th.

In another post dated August 15th, al-Shabaab's press office (HSM Press) claimed a victory against allied AMISOM forces. "HSM has today carried out several assaults on invading forces on multiple fronts, simultaneously attacking Ethiopian, Kenyan & Ugandan forces," it said.

"HSM will continue fighting until the very last invader is eliminated from our land," the group said on September 12th.

Al-Shabaab spreads lies

"Al-Shabaab is trying to label the existence of Kenyan forces in Somalia as an invasion and an occupation of Somali land in an attempt to raise morale among its soldiers after the group suffered a series of successive defeats, not to mention divisions within its ranks," said retired Somali National Army Colonel Omar Ibrahim, adding that the group is trying to attract sympathisers and new recruits.

"The Kenyan government has made it clear time and again that it has no desire to occupy even an inch of Somalia but al-Shabaab is intent on spreading lies to win over the sympathy of Somalis," he told Sabahi. "Al-Shabaab should stop deceiving people, lying and denying the facts, in addition to misusing religion because the Somali people know very well the inaccuracy of its false allegations."

Ahead of the attack on Kismayo, al-Shabaab also launched an online magazine in Swahili mocking the Kenyan forces' progress towards the city.

University Professor Ahmed Hassan, who works in international law, said Kenyan troops stationed in southern Somalia cannot be considered a violation of the country's sovereignty.

"The entry of the Kenyan forces into Somalia came under the framework of a joint agreement between the Kenyan and Somali nations before the [Kenyan forces] joined AMISOM, so they cannot be described as an occupying force," he told Sabahi.

"Al-Shabaab categorises all forces in the region as invading forces that want to occupy Somalia, whether they are African Union forces or international forces operating in Somalia's regional waters to fight off Somali pirates," he said. "In the eyes of the law and international conventions, however, they are not occupying forces because these forces operate under the mandate of the United Nations."

A common enemy

The Kenyan forces originally entered Somalia in October 2011 in response to al-Shabaab's kidnapping of aid workers in Kenya. In February this year, the UN Security Council passed a resolution permitting KDF's incorporation into AMISOM.

In response to al-Shabaab's allegations, Major Emmanuel Chirchir, official spokesman for the Kenya Defence Forces, posted a response on Twitter. "Kenya has no desire to occupy Somali land but only wants to help the people of Somalia restore peace and stability in their country," he said.

Abdinur Aden, a political analyst based in Mogadishu, said al-Shabaab cannot claim that they are defending Somalia against foreign invaders because their armed rebellion targeting civilians and neighbouring countries prompted the region's military action in Somalia to eliminate this threat.

Aden said the security interests of the region are interconnected and that instability in Somalia will negatively impact the entire region.

"The regional countries that sent their forces to Somalia, such as Djibouti, Uganda and Kenya, are all interested in achieving security and stability in Somalia because lack thereof will have a negative impact on them," he told Sabahi.

"Al-Shabaab is a common enemy to the countries of the region, which is why they all support the ongoing military campaign led by the Somali National Army to rid the region of terrorist elements and fight those who threaten peace and security in the region," he said.

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Reader's Comments

  • David
    January 27, 2013 @ 04:26:42PM

    We should stop erroneous thinking. Al-Shabaab are in line in what they are doing because they are defending the religion of the almighty god The Islamic religion is not supposed to be governed by infidel laws

  • peter kagiri
    December 18, 2012 @ 08:44:08AM

    Kenya has straightened out Al-Shabaab and MRC too who are left now are ALK and we are planning for them they should just wait

  • LAELA
    November 25, 2012 @ 04:38:04AM

    KENYA HAS HER OWN AGENDA IN SOMALIA AND HER BIG AGENDA IS THE OIL THAT IS IN THE SOUTH OF KIMAYO THIS AGENDA IS BEING MANAGED WELL BY THE ASSISTANT SPEAKER OF KENYA AND THE MINISTER FOR INTERNAL SECURITY OF KENYA AND KENYAN PARLIAMENTARIANS THE AIM OF SOMALIS TO CREATE SOMETHING CALLED JUBALAND AKA OGADEN STATE SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED IN THE WHOLE REGION OF SOMALIS IN KENYA KENYANS HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO CONTROL THEM FOR YEARS AND YET TODAY YOU ARE ALLOWING THEM NOW TO GET INTO SOMALIA BELIEVE IT OR NOT WITHOUT KENYA SENDING SOMALI TROOPS THE KENYAN CITIZENS WOULDN'T HAVE DISCOVERED ANYTHING THE SOMALI COMMUNITY A COMMUNITY THAT IS NOT DEFEATED IN ANYTHING WITHOUT THIS AGENDA OF KENYAN SOMALIS WANTING TO CREATE THEIR OWN NATION THERE IS STILL A PROBLEM THERE THE PROBLEMS OF SOMALIS WILL BE SOLVED BY SOMALIS THEMSELVES THIS PROPAGANDA FROM KENYA DOES NOT HELP IN ANYTHING

  • Kamen
    November 2, 2012 @ 02:30:07PM

    @ Charlie, shame on you.

  • xuseen
    November 1, 2012 @ 05:40:53AM

    I am very sad about the killing of Shabelle journalist. We are From God and unto Him we return.

  • xxuseen cabdi ramaan
    November 1, 2012 @ 05:27:05AM

    The refugees living in Hagarder refugee camp fear the consumption of relief food after the relief organizations have distributed poisoned relief food to the refugees living in Camp Oos refugee camp, which killed a number of people after consuming the poisoned wheat flour. The refugees living in refugee camps expressed their fear of poisoned food.

  • xuseen cabdi
    November 1, 2012 @ 05:10:07AM

    The refugees living in Hagarder refugee camp are opposed to further stay in Hagarder refugee camp.

  • JOAN
    October 24, 2012 @ 03:11:28PM

    Peace is of great essence to all persons, it gives us security of mind, property and most of all our lives. KUDOS to our very own Kenya Defense Forces!!!

  • jay James ndicu
    October 22, 2012 @ 10:48:52AM

    dear shababz, you are fundamental illetrates. you lack ideas and creativity. you are poor. the people you claim to support you despise you to the highest degree.

  • Longo
    October 20, 2012 @ 02:56:57PM

    Alshabab you shouldshart using mashates avoid wearing clothers and anything you want to relate to be western.

  • Denis
    October 19, 2012 @ 05:45:37AM

    Kenya has truly beaten Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, and MRC. Now who is left so that we straighten him out with whips as necessary? Thank you Sabahi Online for spreading the truth against all war regarding Al-Shabaab, and fighting their sentiments of propaganda so that Somalis and Kenyans are able to discover where the truth lies.

  • WILSON
    October 16, 2012 @ 12:26:23PM

    keep it up KENYA,We TANZANIAN ARE TOGERHER WITH U.WE KNOW THAT YUO ARE THERE NOT ONLY FOR WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO TAKE FROM YUO,BUT ALSO FOR THE BETTERNESS OF SOMALIAN THEM SELVES..WE AFRICAN WE WILL KEEP FIGHTING AL SHABAB,WE FOUND IT NECESARY AND WE KNOW THAT WE SHALL WIN, AS WE ARE CONFIDENT OF THE VICTORY,FOR BETTER OR WORSE.

  • Joseph mbuthia
    October 14, 2012 @ 07:01:49AM

    I thank our troops

  • philip
    October 13, 2012 @ 10:46:29AM

    Al-Shaabab do not have any humanity. When they spread propaganda how does that benefit the nation of Somalia? Their job is to destroy the locals. Cut down these enemies called Al-Shabaab.

  • mwita mokami
    October 12, 2012 @ 11:27:02AM

    Al-Shabaab will be astonished

  • kip
    October 12, 2012 @ 09:33:39AM

    Congratulations to all troops

  • JAMES BOND
    October 12, 2012 @ 04:35:22AM

    Suhaib you are a total disgrace to what you claim to believe in. Go read well and tell me where such atrocities commited by AS are advocated in your religion.

  • sasa
    October 11, 2012 @ 10:16:28AM

    Kudos to the Kenyan troops!

  • Ochigah
    October 11, 2012 @ 09:35:14AM

    @ suhaib when you refer "WE" you mean what. Is it you and your mother, your dad, your brother, your sister, your children or who be specific

  • JIBRIL
    October 11, 2012 @ 05:44:26AM

    ONE CHOICE TO AL-SHABAB MY BROTHERS. DROP THE GUN, BUILD THE COUNTRY, WIN THE PEOPLE AND AMISON WILL LEAVE OUR COUNTRY FASTEST. WHO WANTS TO KEEP AND FEED FORCES THOUSANDS OF KM AWAY FROM HOME WITH TAXPAYERS MONEY?? CANT U C??

  • chris
    October 9, 2012 @ 09:55:10AM

    i pray God tha war end coz this somali pple were to cogested in eastghle makingi landlord to increase rent

  • job kongaria
    October 9, 2012 @ 08:50:04AM

    al shabab is the world enemy

  • HARIYE
    October 9, 2012 @ 08:11:06AM

    THE EARTH IS FOR ALLAH, THE COUNTRY (SOMALIA) IS FOR ME, THE INVADERS WILL DIE BADLY.

  • kibinjo
    October 9, 2012 @ 05:42:30AM

    It’s a waste of time trying to civilize Somalis. Let them kill one another in their country. Let us safeguard our country. These are not normal people. I have lived with them for a long time at their place. They are not normal people at all

  • Kim Jong
    October 8, 2012 @ 03:11:24PM

    @ Suhaib, i hope this day comes very soon. I mean the day the last of you dies. May God bless everyone who fights your sick extremism to reveal peace and happiness amongst the people. Live whatever stupid ideology you like, but leave other people alone with it!! Thank God people are not so stupid as you think and they recognize the real devil of extremism.

  • Charlie
    October 8, 2012 @ 12:37:17PM

    Savages get out of Kenya we are not like you!!! What are you doing in Eastleigh!!!?? All these years where has Tanzania been when we were saving you from your fellow savages they don’t even have an air force or a navy. Now you know who we are a little nonsense and we beat you like donkeys!!! Useless Somalis should go stay in Tanzania we are no cowards and shall deal with you like alien reptiles!!!

  • libaax
    October 7, 2012 @ 01:39:29PM

    i am very happy to see what kenyan and other troops have done to our country because for our safety, but they have to pull out and go back to there countries otherwise another words will came out.

  • EDWIN KIRWA
    October 7, 2012 @ 06:38:01AM

    Man killing man is not tolerated by mankind,surely al shabab,why kill the innocent? Its the duty of all of us to preach peace other than war.Thanks to KDF and AMISON troops for good work done, for restoration of peace in the East African state GOD BLESS YOU.

  • amos wainaina
    October 5, 2012 @ 03:48:13PM

    Hope somali will be free once.

  • fatuma
    October 5, 2012 @ 02:24:24PM

    well down kenya solgers by saving our country

  • denish
    October 5, 2012 @ 05:55:03AM

    al-shabab should realise the defeat and surrender.

  • Wardson Chano
    October 4, 2012 @ 01:37:44PM

    Let the surviving members of Al shabab come out and join the rest in building Somalia. The country seriously needs more live people than lost ones.

  • halima ali
    October 4, 2012 @ 03:53:40AM

    Good luck to tha Kenyan troops Alshababs deserve no mercy those guys portray a bad picture to Muslims pretending that they are good Muslims fighting for jihad which in the real sense how can a Muslim brother kill his fellow Muslim?they r just hypocrites,murders,

  • ken
    October 4, 2012 @ 03:30:47AM

    solidarity 4reva

  • Charlie
    October 3, 2012 @ 10:59:09AM

    Suhaib you are a real camel lover Kenyans fought the British in Mau Mau war we shall make sure you keep your smelly mothers and daughters within Somalia and not sending them to Eastleigh in Nairobi and dadaab then start yelling occupation Kenyans will fix you neanderthals operating without a govt for two decades shame on you cave dwellers!!!! who cares get out of Kenya idiots and we shall get our civilised KDF out of barren dusty kismayu by the way your airport looks like a cattle dip shame on you homids!

  • ismail
    October 3, 2012 @ 09:42:13AM

    Atlast peace n sanity has bin restored in somalia n

  • Gabriel Kitema
    October 2, 2012 @ 12:04:15PM

    I support these ideas. Kenya is accomplishing what is needed. We are not plundering Somalia we want a solution to the war which has lasted for many years and for peace to return to the towns of Somalia. Al-Shabaab must be removed by hook or by crook. This is a bad thorn that KDF must remove.

  • black
    October 1, 2012 @ 10:55:00PM

    suahib do you prefer a kenyan or shabaab colony?wish your outfit could come out bold n fight kenya one on one instead of hurling grenades at innocent children in church

  • harry
    October 1, 2012 @ 01:59:00PM

    why dont humans learn?? what havent we learn from the IRAQ war?? Afghanistan war? Vietnam war?........... war cannot solve these insecurity problems it just makes situations worse....NAIROBI get ready for granades & sucide bombers for the next 20 YEARS!!

  • shaaban issa mfinanga
    September 30, 2012 @ 01:31:54PM

    I advise the new president of Somalia to sit with the Al-Shabaab group and seek a solution. Those who are affected are women and children.

  • nuur salad
    September 30, 2012 @ 01:54:44AM

    It is unfortunate for the people of Somalia to become aliens without power in their own country when the country in the hands of foreign powers with different motives. It is meaningless to say Al-Shabaab is good or Kenya has attacked Al-Shabaab but the most important issue is to save the country and prevent the occurrence of tribal conflicts in areas under the administration of the government and to protect the lives and properties of the community. Likewise, I would like to urge the government to come up with a plan to tighten the security of areas taken over from Al-Shabaab.

  • Moses lobeiyo
    September 29, 2012 @ 03:50:58PM

    Congrates our boys by defending our flag

  • محيي الدين الشيخ عبد الرحمن محمد
    September 29, 2012 @ 01:10:40PM

    I think the time of Al-Shabab Movement has come to an end.

  • Patrick
    September 29, 2012 @ 04:18:06AM

    Congratulations to our Army, KDF, for victory against Al-Shabaab

  • marasimba.
    September 25, 2012 @ 07:01:25AM

    KDF is only trying to bring sanity back to Somalia and when thats done they have absolutely no reason to stay in Somalia even for one lousy second ! Al shabab should give us a break with their cheap propaganda .

  • apolo
    September 24, 2012 @ 06:17:21AM

    al shabab should be eliminated once and for all

  • ali shiekh
    September 19, 2012 @ 01:23:55PM

    The government of Kenya has arrested two members of Al-Shabaab for being in possession of illegal weapons in the country.

  • Matthew Mwangi Mureria
    September 19, 2012 @ 01:16:42PM

    The article is based on the truth about war in Somalia.No one can ever kill the truth!

  • ALI TITO
    September 19, 2012 @ 09:07:09AM

    good luck 4 our kenyan troop

  • ayuub
    September 19, 2012 @ 05:26:44AM

    Al-Shabaab fighters should stop their current undertakings.

  • Suhaib
    September 19, 2012 @ 01:59:14AM

    Kenya feels proud of invading our country but we will fight them until our last person dies. We will make Kenya feel the pain of the bullet because we hate colonization and we want to live in our country liberally using the Islamic Sheriah revealed by God. We are opposed to the secular/manmade laws and we will succeed soon, God willing.

  • Issa Mnubi
    September 18, 2012 @ 07:16:57PM

    i commend the excellent job done by the Kenyan troops to rout out the the most notarious group in our east African states. Al shabab with their wahabi masters are a develish bunch of gangs potraying themselves as muslims while they are spoilers of Islam.

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