Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Timeline of key events leading to Westgate shopping centre attack in Nairobi

This timeline gives readers a digest of the most important events to have politicised the Kenya-Somalia relationship, leading to the current hostilities between the Kenyan security forces and Al-Shabaab.

1963-1967, Shifta War: Conflict engaged in by ethnic Somalis in North-East Kenya for secession of the Northern Frontier District of Kenya to join a greater Somalia.

1980, Dec 31st, Bombing of Jewish-owned hotel in Nairobi by a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

1991, Jan 26th, Fall of Siad Barre, military dictator of Somalia.

1992-1995, UN intervention into Somalia.

1998, Aug 7th, Bombings of US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) by Al-Qaeda operatives.

2002, Nov 28th, Two simultaneous suicide bombings against Israeli targets in Mombasa, Kenya. A Lebanese group, the Army of Palestine, claim responsibility.

2003, Jun, George Bush announces the East African counter-terrorism initiative.

2006, Dec 30th, Assent given to Kenya’s Refugee Act 2006.

2006, Jul 20th, Ethiopian military enters Somalia to support the country’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

2007, Jan 3rd, Kenya officially closes its border with Somalia due to security concerns over Ethiopia’s intervention.

2007, Jan 5-12th, Battle of Ras Kamboni where the US attack Al-Qaeda suspects in southern Somalia.

2008, Aug, UNHCR declare Kenyan refugee camps full due to lack of new land to expand the camps.

2009, Jan, Ethiopian military withdraws from Somalia.

2009, Feb, Kenyan government grants land for a fourth refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Somali border.

2009, May 28th, Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetang’ula says Kenya will give Mogadishu all necessary assistance to destroy the Al-Qaeda linked group Al-Shabaab.

2009, May-Jun, Heavy fighting in Mogadishu between Al-Shabaab and TFG.

2009, Aug, Al-Shabaab disperse across southern and central Somalia.

2009, Nov, Media reports of the recruitment of Somalis in refugee camps by the Kenyan government to fight Islamists in Somalia.

2010, Jan 15th, Violent protests in Nairobi over the detention of visiting Jamaican preacher Abdullah-al-Faisal.

2010, Jul 11th, Two bombings in Kampala, Uganda, carried out by Al-Shabaab, killing 74. The bombings occurred during the final of the South African World Cup and constituted the first official strike by Al-Shabaab outside Somalia.

2011, Oct 16th, Start of Operation “Linda Nchi” (“Protect the Country”), a collaborative military initiative of Kenya, with support from Ethiopia, France and the United States, into southern Somalia to repel Al-Shabaab dominance. The operation followed incursions by Al-Shabaab into Kenyan territory to kidnap foreign aid workers.

2012, Sep 28th, Joint military assault by Kenya and Somali National Army on the Al-Shabaab stronghold of Kismayo. Al-Shabaab forces retreat from the city the following day.

2013, Sep 21-24th, Attack on Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi by Al-Shabaab, leading to a subsequent hostage situation and the death of 61 civilians.