UK ji­hadist Thomas Evans be­lieved killed in Kenya

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

A Bri­tish ji­hadist fight­ing for So­ma­lia’s al-Qaida af­fil­i­ate, the Shabab, is be­lieved to have been killed in a thwarted attack on a Kenyan army base on Sun­day, a Kenyan de­fense spokesman said.

“All the avail­able data, in­clud­ing pho­to­graphs, points to it be­ing Thomas Evans. There is an in­ves­ti­ga­tion go­ing on with foren­sics and DNA to con­firm his iden­tity,” Kenya De­fence Forces spokesman Colonel David Obonyo told AFP on Mon­day.

If con­firmed, Evans’ death will be the first re­ported case of a Bri­tish Is­lamist mil­i­tant be­ing killed on Kenyan soil.

Evans, in his mid-20s and also known as Ab­dul Hakim, is a Mus­lim con­vert whose fam­ily lives in Buck­ing­hamshire in south­ern Eng­land. He re­port­edly trav­eled to So­ma­lia in 2011 to join Shabab.

On Sun­day a group of mil­i­tants at­tacked a Kenyan army base in Baure, close to the bor­der with So­ma­lia. Two Kenyan sol­diers were killed and at least 15 Shabab fighters, in­clud­ing two “Cau­casians,” ac­cord­ing to Kenyan de­fense of­fi­cials.

The Bri­tish em­bassy in Nairobi said it was “seek­ing to con­firm re­ports” that a Bri­ton had been killed.

“We are aware of the re­ports,” a Bri­tish em­bassy spokesman said.

Sun­day’s at­tacks saw dozens of Shabab gun­men raid a Kenyan mil­i­tary base and briefly take over a vil­lage in Lamu County. Kenyan of­fi­cials said a ma­jor se­cu­rity op­er­a­tion was un­der­way on Mon­day to pur­sue the at­tack­ers.

The raids came on the an­niver­sary of at­tacks that be­gan in mid-June 2014 in which close to 100 peo­ple were killed in a se­ries of armed as­saults on the town of Mpeke­toni and sur­round­ing vil­lages.

The at­tacks in Mpeke­toni, close to the once-popular hol­i­day is­land of Lamu, led to a col­lapse in tourism on Kenya’s coast af­ter for­eign gov­ern­ments warned their na­tion­als against travel to the area.

Un­der pres­sure in So­ma­lia where it has for years been fight­ing to over­throw the in­ter­na­tion­ally backed gov­ern­ment, Shabab is now in­creas­ingly tar­get­ing Kenya.

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