Kenya security shake-up over latest terrorist attack

Al-Shabaab kill 36 non-Muslims in northern Kenya

Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta has fired his interior minister Joseph Ole Lenku and accepted the resignation of the national police chief David Kimaiyo over a mounting security threat in northern Kenya.

Kenyatta named retired army general Joseph Nkaisery as new interior minister amid a security shake-up following the latest attack by Somali terrorists al-Shabaab in the north of the country, on 2 December.

The Islamist militants executed 36 non-Muslim workers at a quarry in the village of Kormey, near the Somalian border, in an area known as an al-Shabaab stronghold. The insurgents said the killings were in retaliation for police raids on several mosques in the port city of Mombasa in November.

The latest incident came to light as trade unions urge Kenyan civil servants to leave troubled northern regions hit by the recent wave of insurgent attacks.

On 22 November the militants ambushed a bus near Mandera in north-east Kenya, killing 28 people – most of them teachers and medics – for being unable to recite a Muslim prayer. Since then the Kenyan government has tried to assure non-Muslim teachers and doctors to stay in Mandera but airlifted about 40 pregnant women and mothers with young children to Nairobi.

Many of the remaining civil servants in the Mandera region are afraid to leave by road and are now staying at a refuge camp protected by Kenyan soldiers.

Al-Shabaab has launched a series of attacks in Kenya since its forces went into neighbouring Somalia in 2011 to battle the extremists.