Military warns East Africans of weapons shipments, bombings, floods
Farah Abdi Warsameh / AP
Kenya’s military spokesman has turned to Twitter to warn East Africans of the latest threat in the war against militants linked to al-Qaida: Donkey cartels.
Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir has tweeted numerous updates on Kenya’s military push into Somalia to fight the al-Shabab militants. He told The Los Angeles Times that he sent the “flurry of messages” late Thursday because “information reaching us confirms that Al Shabab has resorted to using donkeys to transport their weapons.”
“Kenyans dealing in donkey trade along the Kenya-Somali border are advised not to sell their animals to Al Shabaab,” Chirchir tweeted. In another tweet he said: “Selling Donkeys to Al Shabaab will undermine our efforts in Somalia.”
Born in USA, now leading Islamic terroristsChirchir warned people to be aware of the seductive lure of cash, tweeting that the “cost of donkeys has risen from $150 to $200″ and that “any large concentration and movement of loaded donkeys will be considered as Al Shabaab activity.”
He told The Associated Press that he used Twitter as a quick way to communicate the military’s message to the many Somalis and Kenyans who are online.
“When you do something on Twitter it goes onto the Internet and people who see it can even call those who can’t see it,” he said. “We’re getting good feedback that Somalis are moving away from al-Shabab camps. It is heard in Mogadishu, Kismayo and Baidoa.”
On Thursday, Chirchir in his Twitter feed also warned unidentified planes to stay out of the region for fear they’re transporting weapons to al-Shabab. Chirchir said in an interview that Kenya would shoot down any planes that officials suspect are carrying weapons.
Chirchir also has tweeted a list of 10 Somali towns he warned would soon be under attack, prompting an evacuation of residents.
Story: Somali rebels arm Kismayu against Kenyan assault Conflict and turmoil
Kenya sent troops into Somalia last month after a string of kidnappings on Kenyan soil that the Kenyans blamed on Somali militants.
Kenya hosts more than 600,000 Somali refugees displaced by the Somalia’s 20-year-old civil war. It been discussing creating a stable buffer zone inside Somalia for the past two years, and has recruited, armed and financed a Somali militia that is currently fighting alongside Kenyan forces.
Somalia has been mired in anarchy since warlords toppled military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.
Msnbc.com’s Sevil Omer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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