Al-Shabab claims Kenyan hostage's execution

Somali anti-government fighters say they killed captured soldier and repeat threats to kill five other hostages.

    Al-Shabab claims Kenyan hostage's execution
    Al-Shabab said they would execute five hostages within three days unless the Kenya buckles to their demands [EPA]

    Somalia's al-Shabab fighters claim to have executed a captured Kenyan soldier and have repeated threats to kill five other hostages.

    The claim of the al-Qaeda-linked group, made on Friday, could not be independently verified.

    "While the mujahedeen have executed the serving KDF [Kenya Defence Force] soldier, there is still a chance of securing the release of the remaining five prisoners," al-Shabab said in a statement.

    Last month al-Shabab issued a February 14 deadline ordering Kenya - whose troops are fighting the anti-government group seeking to impose Islamic law inside Somalia - to release "all Muslim prisoners held on so-called terrorism charges in Kenya".

    Al-Shababn fighters, who have previously released videos of Kenyan civil servants they have kidnapped, have said they will execute five hostages within three days unless the Kenyan government gave in to their demands.

    News of the alleged execution came as AU troops and government forces seized on Thursday the towns of Janalle, Aw Dhigle and Barire, about 80km southwest of the capital Mogadishu, the latest al-Shabab bases to fall.

    Kenya blowback

    Kenya has been hit by a spate of attacks including hand grenade and bombs since it invaded southern Somalia in late 2011 to attack al-Shabab bases, following a string of kidnappings inside Kenya blamed on the armed group.

    Many of the attacks in Kenya - including hand grenade blasts in the  capital Nairobi - are blamed on al-Shabab supporters or Kenyan sympathisers, although al-Shabab has not claimed the attacks themselves.

    But the once powerful al-Shabab are on the defensive inside Somalia, having fled a string of key towns in the face of a 17,000-strong African Union force - which includes Kenyan troops - which is fighting alongside Somali soldiers.

    Ethiopian troops are also battling al-Shabab in the southwest of Somalia.

    Even so, al-Shabab remains a potent threat, still controlling rural areas as well as carrying out guerrilla attacks in areas apparently under government control.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.