Mogadishu: Somali insurgents linked to al Qaeda have demanded the release of all Muslims held in Kenya on terror charges within three weeks otherwise they would kill the hostages.
The Demand came after Al Shabaab said it killed French hostage Denis Allex last week to avenge what it called France’s growing persecution of Muslims and its military operations against Islamists, including in Mali.
The growing influence of insurgent groups linked to al-Qaeda has created grave concerns among different countries including France. The militants attack on an Algerian oil field, taking hostages mostly foreigners was another indication that the groups were gaining ground in Africa.
Al Shabaab (@hsmpress) tweeted a link to a video of two Kenyan civil servants, who were seized from the frontier county of Wajir a year ago, telling the Kenyan government their lives were in grave danger.
It then tweeted that Kenya had to release all Muslim prisoners held on “so-called terrorism charges in Kenya” and “secure the release of Muslims extradited to Uganda for terrorism charges”.
“Kenyan government has 3 weeks, starting midnight 24/01/2013 to respond to the demands of HSM if the prisoners are to remain alive,” the group posted on Twitter.
Titled “KENYA POWS: FINAL MESSAGE”, the video released by the insurgents featured Mule Yesse Edward, a local administrator, and Fredrick Irungu who works with ministry of immigration.
Both were captured last January when the militants crossed the border into Kenya and attacked an administration police post in Wajir, killing several police officers.
The video also contained a still photograph of four other Kenyan hostages who were not identified. Yesse, who spoke in the video, said all the Kenyan hostages held by the group were at risk if Kenya did not meet the rebels’ demands.
There was no response of the Kenyan officials regarding the deadline given by the insurgents.
Nairobi sent its troops across the border to pursue al Shabaab rebels in October 2011 after the insurgents kidnapped western tourists and Kenyan security forces on Kenyan soil.