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The Aftermath of Terror Attacks in Kenya Since 1975

Since 1975, about 350 terror attacks have occurred on Kenyan soil. Data compiled by JULIET ATELLAH and graphic design by MDOGO.

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The Aftermath of Terror Attacks in Kenya Since 1975


On 1 March 1975
, three bombs exploded at the OTC bus stop in Nairobi. 27 people were killed and 100 others injured. No one claimed responsibility for the incident and the police declined to speculate on the identities and motives of the bombers.

On 31 December 1980, the Fairmont Norfolk Hotel was bombed by terrorists. 20 people were killed and 80 were injured after the attack. The hotel was extensively damaged and renovation commenced immediately. The terrorist, identified later by the police and Interpol as Quddura Mohammad Abd-el-Hamid, had boarded the 2.30 p.m. Kenya Airways flight bound for Jeddah via Khartoum six hours before the bomb exploded. He was a known terrorist travelling under the name Muradi Alkali with a Maltese passport.

On 7 August 1998 the U.S embassy in Kenya was bombed killing 212 people and leaving more than 4,500 wounded. The blast occurred at about 10:45 a.m.(Local time). The force of the blast blew off the embassy’s bomb-proof doors, which were later used as stretchers to carry away the injured. Injured people were rushed from the scene, as a plume of smoke rose above the Nairobi skyline. Windows were shattered as far as 10 blocks away, and bloodied clothing and papers littered the streets. On the same day, a second truck bomb exploded outside of the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, causing extensive damage to the building killing 12 people.In total, the two bombings killed 224 people, including 12 Americans. The Terrorist group al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the bombings and more than 20 people have been indicted in the United States for the bombings. Eight are currently serving prison terms.

On November 22, 2002 an Israeli owned hotel In Mombasa was bombed just as two missiles were fired at an Israeli holiday jet that had taken off from the city’s airport. The missiles narrowly missed the Arkia airline plane – a Boeing 757 carrying 261 passengers – but a large part of the Paradise Hotel was reduced to rubble and the rest was a smouldering shell.15 people died. Kenya police claimed three suicide bombers were killed, along with nine Kenyans and three Israelis, two of whom were children. About 80 people, most of them Kenyans, were injured in the attack. The Army of Palestine claimed responsibility for the attacks, however, speculations arose that it could have been Al-Qaeda.

In the months of August 2007 and 2008 respectively, the Ugandan army bombed over 5,000 Turkana pastoralists in Koten in a move to flush them out of the area. UPDF was accused of bombing the Turkana pastoralists in Nakwanye (Nakwanga) and Morutorong in August 2008.  

On 21 October 2010 thirty people were reported to have been killed following the night clashes between Al-Shabaab and a pro-government Somali militia on the Kenya-Somali border.

In October 2011, Kenya sent troops into Somalia after Kenya’s national security was threatened by the Somalia-based Islamist militant group, Al-Shabaab. The terrorist group had in fact carried out a number of cross-border raids during the months preceding the operation.

On October 28, 2011, Kenyan born Elgiva Bwire Oliacha alias Mohamed Seif pleaded guilty to a grenade attack in Nairobi. Elgiva Bwire Oliacha confessed to being a member of Al-Shabaab, and admitted his role in a terror attack that took place in Nairobi. One person was killed in the and 20 others were wounded after the grenade was detonated in a bar.

On 10 March 2012,  Al Shabaab killed six people and wounded sixty more after four grenades were detonated at the Machakos bus station in Nairobi.

On 18 November 2012, seven passengers were killed and 33 others injured following a bomb blast in a city matatu.

On 21 September 2013, Al Shabaab attacked pedestrians at Westgate Shopping Mall. 68 people were killed and over 150 people injured over the four days siege. Witnesses claimed that the attack was highly organised, with the attackers having pre-positioned weapons throughout the building, as well as obtaining access to service elevators. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility.

On 23 November 2013, suspected Al Shabaab militants killed at least 28 people on a bus in Arabiya area, Mandera County. The heavily armed militias were reported to have waylaid a Nairobi bound bus, which left the incursion prone Mandera town early in the morning between Mandera and Arabia. According to the Mandera East sub-county commissioner Elvis Korir the assailants stopped the bus, veered off from the main road before separating passengers and targeting those they perceived to be non-Muslim. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the killings through its radio station in Somalia, saying it was in retaliation for raids by the government security officials in the coastal city of Mombasa closed two mosques after allegedly found hosting radicalised Muslim youth and cache of firearms among them hand grenades.

Between 15 June and 17 June 2014, more than 60 people were killed in attacks in and near Mpeketoni, Kenya. The Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militant group claimed responsibility, but the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta asserted that the attacks were organized by local politicians with ties to a network of gangs.

In July 2014, 21 people were killed in Hindi village located in Lamu county. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility.

In August 2017, anti-terrorism detectives gunned down Hussein Said Omar aka Babley, a terror suspect after a police shootout. According to police reports, Babley and his brother Ahmed Said Omar alias Dogo were both suspected to be behind the 2014 Mpeketoni massacre.

On November 21, 2014, 28 people were killed after suspected Al-Shabaab militants attacked a Nairobi-bound bus in Omar Jilo, in Mandera County. Witnesses said the attackers ordered all off the bus, divided the passengers along ethnic lines – Somali and non-Somali, shooting all non-Somalis. Many of the deceased were teachers. Al Shabaab claimed the responsibility of the killing of the 36-non local Kenyans at a quarry in Koromei area near Mandera in the night of December 1, 2014 through a pro-Al-Shabaab website. They claimed that the attack on Koromei was part of series of attacks executed by the Mujahidin to serve as a response to Kenya’s occupation of Somalia and the killing of innocent Somalis.

On April 2, 2015,  Al Shabaab gunmen attacked Garissa University killing 148 people. Among the deceased,142 were students.

On July 7, 2015,  Al Shabaab attacked Mandera town, throwing grenades into the homes of quarry workers. 14 people were confirmed dead. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility, declaring they were specifically targeting Christians in the attack to avenge killings of Muslims in Somalia and Kenya by Kenyan security forces.

On October 25, 2016,  Al Shabaab gunmen attacked  Boshari Guest house during the early morning hours. 12 people were killed. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility, claiming there target were Christians.

On November 6, 2017, Al-Shabab militants ambushed and burnt down two police land cruisers in an attack in Daba City, Mandera County. The two vehicles carrying police officers were escorting a bus to Mandera when they were hit by rocket-propelled grenades. 12 killed, several wounded.

On August 13, 2017, Al-Shabaab destroyed a Kenyan police vehicle which was driving through Yadi, Damase and El Wak towns in Mandera with an improvised explosive device. Fatalities were recorded.

On September 25, 2018,  Al-Shabaab militants claimed to have overrun a Kenyan military base in Taksile area north of Pandaguo, Lamu County. They killed 10 Kenyan soldiers. Kenyan military sources reported the clashes, although they claimed that 10 Al-Shabaab fighters had been killed.

On January 15, 2019   Al Shabaab attacked Nairobi, DusitD2 hotel. 21 people were killed and several other injured. About 700 people were rescued from the compound. On February 26, 2019  Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji claimed the Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) Eastleigh branch has been accused of helping to finance terror-related crimes by facilitating the withdrawal of Sh30 million by a suspect in one week to Jilib town which is the headquarters of Al-Shabaab.

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Juliet Atellah is a data journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya

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Where Do Kenyans Seek Medical Treatment?

In Kenya there are about 15 medical doctors for every 100,000 persons, a ratio that is quite low. Due to this, people seek other alternative sources of health care. For this reason, over 70% of Kenyans rely on traditional healers as their primary source of health care.

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Where Do Kenyans Seek Medical Treatment?

 

In Kenya there are about 15 medical doctors for every 100,000 persons, a ratio that is quite low. Due to this, people seek other alternative sources of health care. For this reason, over 70% of Kenyans rely on traditional healers as their primary source of health care. This number is high because healers respond to diverse needs – they work as herbalists and birth attendants and they’re within reach of ordinary citizens. Estimates suggest that there is one healer for every 950 patients operating both in the rural and urban settings. legitimacy and authority are bestowed on them particularly because they act as custodians of precious biodiversity and the bearers of traditional knowledge.

According to a national household survey released  by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, 57 percent of the population seek treatment from traditional healers and herbalists compared to 28 percent who accessed from health facilities.  

Population distribution by who diagnosed the illness

Population distribution by who diagnosed the illness

 

The same study also revealed that as compared to their counterparts in urban areas rural folk visit traditional healers more by a 13 percent difference, largely due to the distribution and accessibility of health centres in the rural areas viz. urban centres.

Population distribution by who diagnosed the illness

Population distribution by who diagnosed the illness: Rural v. Urban

At 76 percent, 59 percent and 57 percent respectively, West Pokot, Siaya and Migori Counties reported the highest numbers as regards treatment by traditional healers and Baringo and Kirinyaga Counties recorded the lowest at 36 percent and 39 percent respectively.

Counties with highest proportions of population that reported diagnosis by a traditional healer

Counties with highest proportions of population that reported diagnosis by a traditional healer

For those who seek treatment in the health facilities only 1 in 4 Kenyans have access to private hospitals or clinics while the majority of the population are reported to access treatment through public health government hospitals, dispensaries and health centres.

Population distribution by type of healthcare provider

Population distribution by type of healthcare provider

Urban constituents recorded a higher access to private hospitals at 78.2 percent than their rural counterpart  at 64.2 percent.

Distribution Population by Type of Healthcare Provider: Rural v. Urban

Population distribution by type of healthcare provider: Rural v. Urban

The government of Kenya seeks to have universal healthcare to all Kenyans by 2022 to guarantee access to quality and affordable health care. As the data suggests, government should therefore lay its emphasis in investing in public health systems and traditional medicine which have the potential to transform primary healthcare and make it more affordable and accessible.

Written by Joe Kobuthi
Data by Juliet Atellah
Graphics design by Mdogo

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A Timeline of Terror Attacks in Kenya Since 1975

Since 1975, about 350 terror attacks have occurred on Kenyan soil. Data compiled by JULIET ATELLAH, YVONNE MASINDE and graphic design by MDOGO.

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A Timeline of Terror Attacks in Kenya Since 1975

The narrative around terror attacks makes them seem like a rare event. However, since 2011, Kenya has faced 321 terror attacks; that is a new attack every 9 days.

Here’s a look at 29 of the deadliest attacks.

Visualization by OdipoDev

Clean Data: Here
Raw Data: Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)

 

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Vaccination in Kenya has a Fake News Problem; And it is Not Happening Online

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When you come across the term ‘fake news’, you will most likely think it has something to do with politics. This is because the majority of the research and attention given to fake news has been focused on its use in politics and election campaigns. However, misinformation and disinformation also presents a big challenge in other sectors. Health is one such area that our research shows is also being affected by fake news. However, it does’nt get the mainstream attention afforded to categories like politics.

As the Information Age has evolved in the era of social media, we have seen misinformation in health explode with no system of facts in place to counter the spread of falsehoods. Misinformation to do with health is uniquely delicate in that it completely suffocates the truth in many cases, exposing people to very real physiological danger. The forces behind this brand of fake news includes false advertising pushing products like waist trainers, genitalia enlargement pills, magical weight loss pills and meal replacements. The misinformation is also spread through myths and misconceptions of diseases such as ebola, as witnessed on social media whenever an outbreak occurs. In countries like the U.S, vaccine hesitancy has found a home online with the ‘anti-vaxxer’ movement gaining massive momentum in Facebook groups and other social media channels. ‘Anti-vaxxers’ believe there’s a connection between vaccination and autism, as well as other brain disorders, despite there being no scientific evidence supporting that theory. We have also seen healthcare being caught up in political tugs of war, leading to falsehoods being trumpeted by influential public figures or mainstay institutions like the church. In short, fake news is seriously damaging our health.

This phenomenon has been manifested in Kenya in the area of vaccination. The country has a long history of vaccine hesitancy and distrust, which has been mainly fuelled by the church’s skepticism towards the procedure. A survey carried out by Ipsos in 2014 found:

  • As much as 45% of Kenyan Catholics believe that the tetanus vaccine is being used to depopulate Kenyan populations,
  • While the Catholic Church are the most vocal against vaccines, in other Christian denominations as much as 65% of them also believed the vaccine is a tool for depopulation,
  • 40% of Muslims consider the vaccine to be a depopulation device, with 77% of North Eastern Province residents being in opposition to the vaccine,
  • As a testament to the power of misinformation, education was not a factor influencing people’s beliefs in whether the vaccine is a depopulation mechanism or not.

Most recently, there has been loud public debate and uproar over a national cervical cancer vaccine drive planned by the Kenyan Government and targeted at girls aged 9 to 14 years.

We conducted research around this conversation and other vaccine-oriented conversations in recent history to understand the underlying attitudes towards vaccines among Kenyans. We wanted to trace any misinformation and misconceptions being pushed online around this issue and the forces behind it. Here is what we found:

1. News stories are the trigger of conversations around the vaccine. News coverage sparks Kenyans to share misinformation around vaccines, either innocently or maliciously.

As with any other facet of public health, vaccine drives need to be supplemented by media campaigns in order to get vital information out to the public. However, the opposition to the vaccines, mainly by the Church, tends to make the vaccine drives a news item in themselves.

In our research we identified that there is no active digital anti-vaccination campaign in Kenya. No specific organisation of any kind is actively churning out fake news about vaccines to a specific target audience.

In the absence of an active digital misinformation campaign or news coverage, vaccine misconceptions largely stay under the radar. This rapidly changes whenever a story is published. Sparked by news coverage, anti-vaccine sentiments tend to bubble to the surface and online commentary increases in comment sections on news sites and on social media. From this, we can conclude that the misinformation agent happens offline and the misconceptions appear online.

Mentions across the web for terms associated with vaccinations in December 2018

2. Politicians are emerging as influential misinformation agents about vaccines.

As the government wages a tug of war with the church over vaccines, the debate rapidly becomes political and invites other parties to weigh in on the matter. This is how an influential voice like ODM leader, Raila Odinga ends up holding a press conference to state that the tetanus vaccine led to the sterilization of over 500,000 women. This effectively makes the media a conduit for fake news. The data we collected shows how much conversation Mr.Odinga triggered by making one statement about vaccines.

Key word density graph for comments on news stories about vaccines in 2017

Raila appears prominently in conversations about vaccines from news data gathered, garnering more mentions than even the Church.

Examples of some of the comments we found

Politicians wield large influence over Kenyans and having them actively participate in spreading misinformation about the vaccine could have far-reaching effects. Our research shows that very few politicians so far, have shared views digitally about vaccines. But as with everything in politics, this could change in an instant.

3. Prominent coverage of misinformation agents by mainstream Kenyan media lends credibility to the information and spreads it beyond Kenya’s borders.

Kenya has become a leading case study among anti-vaccination communities around the world. Many have used information reported on mainstream Kenyan media to lend credence to their claims of vaccines as tools of depopulation. Videos of the Raila Odinga press conference on the tetanus vaccine were shared by anti-vaccine sympathisers across the world. The content has been used to create several videos on Youtube, with the most popular having over 93,000 views.

Infowars, the infamous conspiracy theory website founded by Alex Jones, also picked up on these claims and wrote an article and even did an entire video which is also available on YouTube.

4. Several members of the public often make attempts to correct the misconceptions of others that they see in the comment sections of vaccine stories.

In the absence of a proper system of fact checking to counter the vaccine misinformation and misconceptions, we are seeing members of the public trying to correct misconceptions when they encounter them. However, while this is positive, it also runs the risk of misinformation being countered with more misinformation.

Methodology:

Data collection: Historical Keyword data collection off of Twitter to do with terms relevant to vaccines
Facebook: Data collected from Daily Nation, The Star and Standard Facebook pages by mining stories to do with vaccines then collecting the comments in the comment sections.

Time period: 2016–2018

Odipodev is a data analytics and research firm operating out of Nairobi. They can be contacted on team@odipodev.com

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