Cablegate: Kenya: 2009 Country Reports On Terrorism


DE RUEHNR #2644/01 3551308
R 211236Z DEC 09



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: KENYA: 2009 Country Reports on Terrorism

REF: STATE 109980

"Africa Overview" input

1. Al-Shabaab extremists, supported by members of al-Qa'ida,
continued to present a serious terrorist threat to American and
allied interests throughout the Horn of Africa. Due to ongoing
fighting between al-Shabaab, Somalia's Transitional Federal
Government (TFG), and other armed factions within the country,
Somalia remained highly unstable, offering a permissive environment
for terrorist transit, training and organization. Foreign fighters
and al-Qa'ida operatives continued to live and work inside Somalia.
Counterterrorism forces killed al-Qa'ida senior leader Saleh Ali
Saleh Nabhan in al-Shabaab controlled territory in mid-September.
Nabhan was an associate of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, aka Harun
Fazul, one of several al-Qa'ida leaders charged with carrying out
the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.


2. Cross-border kidnappings and arms smuggling, reports of
extremist recruiting within refugee camps and Kenyan cities,
increased allegations of terrorist plotting, and public threats by
al-Shabaab leaders led to a heightened recognition among government
officials, the diplomatic community and civil society that Kenya is
vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Whereas Kenyans have
traditionally perceived terrorism as primarily a 'foreign' problem,
during the past year an increasing number of Kenyan citizens and
government officials came to recognize that their own country and
society are also threatened by violent extremists.

3. Al-Shabaab's continued dominance of most of southern Somalia
provided a permissive environment for al-Qa'ida to conduct training
and terrorist planning. Although the Kenya-Somalia border
officially remained closed large numbers of refugees continued to
flee to refugee camps in Kenya in order to escape the fighting and
drought. Armed militants also crossed the porous border into Kenya
to obtain supplies, funding, medical care, and recruits. There was
a disturbing increase in incidents of armed Somalis crossing the
border to kidnap foreigners inside Kenya. In July gunmen claiming
to belong to al-Shabaab kidnapped three foreign aid workers,
including one American, inside Kenya and took them back to Somalia.
The militants released the hostages in October, reportedly after
payment of a ransom. This followed the February release of two
Italian nuns who had been kidnapped from the Kenyan border town of
El Wak in late 2008. In mid-December armed Somalis attempted to
kidnap an Italian nun working in the northeastern town of Wajir but
were driven off by Kenyan police.

4. Despite increased concern over security, the lack of
counterterrorism and anti-money laundering legislations continued
to hinder Kenya's efforts to combat violent extremism. Existing
laws did not permit police to detain terrorist suspects and
prosecute them effectively. The government did not submit a revised
version of counterterrorism legislation that was defeated in 2006.
In December the Kenyan Parliament passed the "Proceeds of Crime and
Money Laundering Bill" for combating money laundering and terrorist
financing but the measure still awaited the president's signature
at year's end.

5. Kenya did demonstrate increased political will to prevent
infiltration into the country and apprehend suspected terrorists.
The government took steps to increase security along the
Kenya/Somalia border and track down extremists operating inside the

6. The United States continued to enjoy close and productive ties
with the Kenyan Armed Forces. During the year the United States
provided training and equipment to the Kenya Navy for coastal
security and maritime domain awareness. Equipment grants included
six coastal radar sites and three Defender class patrol boats, plus
training and spare parts for existing equipment. The United States

also assisted the Kenyan Army to train and equip two Infantry
Battalions and one Ranger Strike Force company tasked with
providing border security. Training for the Ranger Strike Force is
based in part on the curriculum for the U.S. Army Ranger Course.

7. Kenyan law enforcement agencies also worked with the United
States and other allies to increase their counterterrorism
abilities. Security along Kenya's land and maritime borders
remained a primary focus of these efforts. The Kenyan Maritime
Police Unit (MPU) and other agencies not only received equipment
and training for coastal security from the State Department's
Antiterrorism Assistance program (ATA) but also demonstrated an
increasing degree of self-sufficiency. During the latest
iterations of ATA's 11-week Comprehensive Maritime Security
Training program previous graduates of the course served as
associate instructors. ATA-trained Kenyan personnel also developed
and presented a basic two-week maritime operations course which
they taught to students from multiple security agencies at the
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Marine Camp in Malindi. In December
the U.S. Ambassador formally turned over three donated patrol boats
for use by the MPU and Administrative Police (AP) coastal security
forces. Other ATA courses provided training in border control
management, fraudulent travel documents, protecting digital
infrastructure, and internet investigations. ATA also provided
digital forensic equipment and training to the Kenyan Police
Service (KPS).

8. The U.S. Department of Justice conducted a number of training
activities through the offices of the Resident Legal Advisor and
Senior Law Enforcement Advisor aimed at building the capacity of
police and prosecutors. This included courses in trial advocacy,
witness protection, trafficking in persons, forensic and digital
evidence, cyber crimes, and piracy. In December Kenya and ten
other regional countries participated in a U.S. Dept of Justice
sponsored regional conference on combating criminal organizations,
including terrorist groups. Conference topics included terrorist
financing, cooperation between intelligence and law enforcement
agencies, electronic evidence gathering, and legal regimes. The FBI
also provided training and equipment to the KPS, the AP, and the
KWS. Training activities included courses in crime scene
investigation and terrorist finance, and money laundering.
Equipment grants included fingerprint kits and gyro-stabilized
binoculars for use in air surveillance operations.

9. In July and August officers from the Department of Homeland
Security/Customs and Border Protection (DHS/CBP) provided
specialized training and equipment to the newly established AP
border patrol unit and the KWS. In September ATA funded a study
tour for AP and KWS personnel to observe CBP operations along the
Mexican-American border and to meet with State Department and
Department of Homeland Security officials in the nation's capitol.
The CBP plans additional training opportunities for the AP's Border
Patrol Unit and KWS in the future.

10. Embassy POC for this CRT is Samuel Madsen,

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