By Michael S. Smith II
Roughly 10 days after al-Qa’ida’s East Africa branch released a 77-minute video featuring footage of its September 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall that was produced to broadcast a threat of more attacks in Kenya and a call for attacks in the West, namely on the Mall of America, al-Shabaab released a documentary-styled video containing extensive footage of its raids in Kenya’s coastal region in June 2014. These videos have been released as the al-Qa’ida offshoot calling itself the Islamic State continues to release videos documenting its executions of “kufr” (disbelievers) hostages, capturing the interests of international news organizations. Thereby, widening the group’s reach to prospective recruits.
Titled “Mpeketoni: Reclaiming back Muslim Lands under Kenyan occupation,” this half-hour-long video produced by al-Shabaab’s media wing, al-Kataib, is part of the series titled “No Protection Except By Eeman [Belief] or Aman [Covenant of Security].”
In it, the al-Qa’ida branch highlights the organized executions conducted during its raid on Mpeketoni, Kenya on 16 June 2014, and the following night in the Kenyan village Poromoko. The group of terrorists also pays a visit to Pandanguo.
Various reports indicate that more than 60 people were killed during this terrorism campaign that reached deep inside Kenyan territory. According to the video’s contents, when the group arrived at the village of Pandanguo “all the Kuffar (disbelievers) fled into the bushes … The Mujahideen then addressed the local Muslim villagers, reassuring them that no harm shall befall them, for their blood and wealth is protected by Islam.”
Via captions and split screen shots featuring images of Muslims protesting in Kenya following the murder of the radical Kenyan cleric Aboud Rogo, who was accused of being an al-Shabaab facilitator, the executions are portrayed as “retribution” for the “oppression” of Muslims in Kenya.
Earlier in the video, a portion of a sermon delivered by Rogo is aired with footage and photos produced during the protests. In it, Rogo advises (emphasis added):
Muslims will never succeed without taking up arms. My dear Muslim brothers, let us not be deceived by the parliament (and their system of Kufr). If we really want to follow Islam, then the solution is for Muslims to rise up, take up arms and head to the nearest front where Jihaad has been established. They must exert all their effort and assist their brothers there so that the Rule of the Quran can be implemented. Failure to do so will cause us to remain in this state.
It’s now been over 50 years since we’ve began participating in the voting system and day in and day out, the Muslims have had their lands taken away from them. Let me give you an example: the disbelievers came to Mpeketoni in 1972 and right now there are 100 churches and just one mosque in the town, despite the fact that this land belongs to Muslims.
Therefore my dear Muslim brothers, we have tried this system for over 50 years and it did not bear any fruits. Let us now try this system [of Jihad]. …
Therefore, he who wants to follow the religion correctly has to make Hijra and go to Somalia. His brothers there will welcome him.
The video’s producers also take care to demonstrate the inaccuracies of claims made by Kenyan government officials who advised the attacks on Mpeketoni and Poromoko were not the handiwork of al-Shabaab. Officials responsible for issuing those claims, including the president of Kenya, were almost certainly aware al-Shabaab was behind those raids. As revealed in the video, the terrorists deployed for these operations engaged with locals in an effort to avoid killing Muslims. Further, terrorists responsible for these attacks shared with Muslims whom they allowed to live that they were members of al-Shabaab.
Similarly, the terrorists dispatched by al-Shabaab to lay siege to the Westgate Mall made attempts to identify who was (not) Muslim among the civilians whom they encountered while executing that plot.
The video’s message, delivered via English-language subtitles and English-language narration throughout, emphasizes al-Shabaab’s goal is to “liberate” historically Muslim lands “from the disbelievers.” Yet an al-Shabaab member who addresses a group of villagers in Pandanguo notes their jihad is globally focused: “The Prophet (sallalaahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) informed us that Islam will prevail and that the whole world will be governed by the Qur’an whether the Kuffar [disbelievers] like it or not.”
The narrator advised, “The aim of our jihad is to make the word of Allah the highest, striking the falsehood of disbelief with the invincible sword of tawhid.” Continuing, he added: “It’s the birth of a new dawn, and a new era is on the horizon. And now, with the mujahidin making inroads into the occupied Muslim lands in Kenya and beyond, it’s time to redraw the East African map.”
The group has also produced a version of the material for Arabic-speaking audiences.
As with al-Shabaab’s recent video featuring a call for an attack on the Mall of America, this video has been promoted via popular Twitter accounts managed by Islamic State supporters.
Mpeketoni: Reclaiming back Muslim Lands under Kenyan occupation
From the series “No Protection Except By Eeman [Belief] or Aman [Covenant of Security]”
Circulation observation date: 2 March 2015
The following are synchronized screenshots, paired with a transcript of captions, subtitles, and the message narrated in English-throughout.
The video begins with news clips featuring commentary regarding the attacks
Female correspondent: “More than 60 people were killed in attacks in Mpeketoni, after gunmen opened fire on hotels and government buildings. The town is located close to the island of Lamu — now that’s a popular holiday resort.”
Male correspondent: “Dozens of gunmen storming into this small coastal town last night, as local people watched the World Cup on TV.”
Female correspondent: “This is the deadliest attack in Kenya since dozens of people were killed during a siege in Nairobi last September.”
Same female correspondent: “The attackers gave residents religious and language tests before slaughtering those who gave incorrect answers.”
Same male correspondent: “At the Breeze View Hotel, police say gunmen forced women to watch as they killed the men. Revenge, they said, for the actions of Kenyan troops in neighboring Somalia.”
Second male correspondent (possibly BBC correspondent Dennis Okari): “It was surprising that they didn’t kill women and children. In this particular attack, the target was precisely men — not women and children.”
Second female correspondent: “Attackers opened fire on hotels, a bank, and government offices.”
Third male correspondent: “… those who survived, packing and leaving. The fear of the unknown is driving them out.”
Fourth male correspondent: “It comes just days after the UK government closed its consulate in Mombasa because of security concerns there.”
Third male correspondent: “Hours of terror disrupted their lives, and changed the face of Mpeketoni. Many here lost fathers and sons, and brothers, as they watched their village go up in flames.”
Second female correspondent: “At first, the Islamist group al-Shabaab said it was responsible. But later, the country’s president Uhuru Kenyatta blamed local political networks for the killing.”
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta: “The attack in Lamu was well-planned, orchestrated and politically-motivated ethnic violence against the Kenyan community, with the intention of profiling and evicting them for political reasons. This, therefore, was not an al-Shabaab terrorist attack.” The audio rewinds: “This, therefore, was not an al-Shabaab terrorist attack. Evidence indicates that local political networks were involved in the planning and execution of the heinous crime.”
What would compel a country’s president to lie to his people so unashamedly?
BBC correspondent Dennis Okari: “Well that statement by the president indeed has thrown the whole country into confusion, including the political class. And that statement, like I’m saying, will change the history of al-Shabaab attacks in the country, because that has never happened in the history of all the attacks that have ever happened here. And al-Shabaab are not known to play with their words. Al-Shabaab are known to follow very strict, hardline Islamic ideology, and they don’t claim something that they haven’t done. They don’t just lie for things like this.”
But for many Kenyan politicians, hypocrisy has become so entrenched in their personalities that lying has become a trait too difficult to get rid of!
Kenyan Government Spokesman Manoah Esipisu: “We have credible evidence to suggest that it was not al-Shabaab. We have ruled that option out because [stammers] the intel we have does not point to al-Shabaab at all.”
Former Kenyan Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku: “Security has been beefed across the country. I want to assure Kenyans that the perpetrators of this heinous act will be pursued, to face the full face of the law.”
Former GSU officer George Musamali: “I don’t think this is reality. I think he is just trying to reassure the citizens. Because even after Westgate, we were told that they are going to carry out the investigations and bring to book the people that carried out that attack. Until now, nothing has been seen out of these.”
But while Kenyan politicians lie to their public, a great transformation is taking place in East Africa as Muslims have risen up to restore their dignity and liberate their lands from the Kuffar (disbelievers)
The following segment features an address delivered by deceased Kenyan cleric Aboud Rogo
Caption: It is incumbent upon the Muslims to rise up and declare that this Kenyan constitution does not suit us, and that we, as Muslims, have the Qur’an as our only constitution and that we want to live by the Qur’an.
Caption: As soon as the Muslims do this, the Kuffar will wage war against them, and the Muslims will be obliged to take counter action by rising up to fight against the Kuffar.
Caption: Hence, we would have implemented the verse of the Qur’an that says “Jihad is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you.” [Al-Barqarah, 216]
Caption: Unfortunately, right now our situation is similar to that described in the Hadith of the Prophet (Sallalaahu ‘Alayhi wa-sallam) when he said: “If you trade in iina [a type of usury], …
Caption: “… and follow the tails of cows and become content with being farmers and ignore jihad Allah will impose on you a humiliation [as is the case with us right now] that would not be taken away until you go back to your religion i.e. Jihaad”
Caption: We observe our prayers, we fast, we perform the pilgrimage and we pay Zakat. How come then that we are still weak and oppressed?
Caption: The answer is simply because we have not gone back to our Diin [Jihad].
Caption: Our country, Kenya, is now openly waging a war against Islam and the Qur’an and the Muslims are constantly being oppressed.
Caption: Whoever decides to sit back and stay here will remain in a state of humiliation and fear.
Caption: He does not know when he will be caught; he does not know when he will be oppressed or tortured because the government has openly come out and is blatantly waging a war against Islam.
Caption: Muslims will never succeed without taking up arms. My dear Muslim brothers, let us not be deceived by the parliament (and their system of Kufr).
Caption: If we really want to follow Islam, then the solution is for Muslims to rise up, take up arms and head to the nearest front where Jihaad has been established.
Caption: They must exert all their effort and assist their brothers there so that the Rule of the Quran can be implemented. Failure to do so will cause us to remain in this state.
Caption: It’s now been over 50 years since we’ve began participating in the voting system and day in and day out, the Muslims have had their lands taken away from them
Caption: Let me give you an example: the disbelievers came to Mpeketoni in 1972 and right now there are 100 churches and just one mosque in the town, despite the fact that this land belongs to Muslims.
Caption: Therefore my dear Muslim brothers, we have tried this system for over 50 years and it did not bear any fruits. Let us now try this system [of Jihad].
Caption: What is certain though is that it is impossible for a Muslim to fail if he applies the system of the Prophet (Sallalaahu ‘Alayhi wa-sallam).
Caption: Therefore, he who wants to follow the religion correctly has to make Hijra and go to Somalia. His brothers there will welcome him.
Caption: Let the youth go somewhere where they can implement the rule of the Quran, perhaps Allah will bring them back [to Kenya] and enable the rule of the Quran to be established here
Caption: And there is no doubt that it will be established here.
And though the Sheikh did not live to see it, his words are being transformed into a reality: a reality that cannot be simply covered up by lies!
“Deep in the wilderness, the group of mujahidin fighters begin their arduous journey. They are headed toward the heart of the enemy strongholds, the occupied Muslims lands in the Kenyan coastal region, and their aim is to attack the Kenyan disbelievers deep inside their bases, work towards the liberation of those Muslims lands, and extend the frontiers of Islam. They are taking the war to Kenya.
They march forth in compliance with the command of Allah, along a path paved with adversities of every kind — adversities that must be overcome. It’s the path of jihad, the path that guarantees victory in this world, inshallah, in the hereafter. For the messenger of Allah … said: Allah has guaranteed the mujahid who leaves from his home, with no other purpose but to fight in the cause of Allah, and believing the words of Allah, Allah has guaranteed for him either enter into janna or to return him home with reward.
They march forth leaving behind everything, and trekking hundreds of kilometers through wetlands and dense forests in their quests for the pleasure of Allah. They are the army of difficulty. And even with their meager resources, they stand tall like lofty mountains, against the multitude of enemies — convinced that Allah would not abandon His humbled slaves in their hour of need. So they plunge into the pits of death and destruction, where their battle cry remains, ‘This is what Allah and His prophet have promised us.’
They are the soldiers of Allah, the vanguards of the Muslim army, and the guardians of this great faith. They come from far and wide, all hoping to achieve one common goal: That is to raise the word of Allah and revive the glory and dominance of Islam. No blood, nor ties of kinship connect them; nor culture, nor country unites them. They are united by a bond that transcends the superficial ties of race and lineage. It’s the bond of Islam — the bond of faith that has liberated their souls, widened their horizons, and raised their aspirations beyond this material world.
And among them are the oppressed Muslims of East Africa, who have come to the lands of jihad to train, and fulfill the obligation of jihad. And now, with the help of their brothers from the mujahidin in [inaudible], they are heading back to their homelands, in order to liberate them from the disbelievers.
The sun sets and rises, and the world opens its doors for them upon every turn. But they march forth in their quest, full of determination, and advance towards their enemy, seeking death, or being slain in the cause of Allah.
And all the while, they remember the words of their noble prophet, when he said, ‘Among the best lives for people, is a man who clasps the reins of his horse in the path of Allah, flying on its back. Whenever he hears a call for battle, or advancement towards the enemy, he flies on it, seeking death and being slain with eagerness.’
And this is how the mujahid deeds his life. A life that knows no humiliation, and aspires for that noble and honorable death: To be killed in the path of Allah. From one expedition to the other, they carry their shrouds in their backpacks, their souls in the palm of their hands, and offer their lives cheaply, as a sacrifice for the cause of Allah. Knowing that whoever among them Allah takes as a martyr has truly succeeded, for paradise lies beneath the shade of the shade of the souls.
Arabic language address from Sheikh Abu Zubeyr (d. September 2014)
Caption: As for you, our brothers in all the battle fronts; O’ you who are firm in the face of adversity; O’ bearers of time-honoured glory.
Caption: O’ you who have endured and persevered; O’ you who have paid the ultimate price with your blood and the blood of your leaders;
Caption: O’ you whom Allah has chosen to be the fuel that propels the battles of Muslim Ummah, bear glad tidings for Allah will not let the fruits of Jihad go to waste nor will He allow your enemies to gloat over your setbacks.
Caption: Our Ummah has now seen the flags of victory appearing on the horizon and the banners of Jihad being raised victoriously on the battlefields
Caption: Eliminating the humiliation and defeat that has corroded their hearts for so long and renewing in them the spirit of glory and glad tidings until they revolted in the face of tyranny.
And on the day before the battle begins, they sharpen their knives, and prepare to strike the necks of the disbelievers.
Guns firing in the dark
With vengeance flowing through their veins, the mujahidin descended upon the kingdom of the disbelievers by nightfall, and cut its way through towns and villages they have occupied, killing the disbelievers, dispersing them, and setting their property ablaze.
Replay of the president’s remarks: “This therefore, was not an al-Shabaab terrorist attack”
This is the town of Mpeketoni, a Muslim land that has for decades been under occupation by the Kenyan disbelievers. Like many of the towns in the coastal region, the Muslims here have suffered historical injustices and their lands have been dispossessed by the disbelievers.
Town after town, village after village, the mujahidin raided the Kenyan disbelievers. Singling them out from the Muslim population, and executing them , as Allah has commanded.
Caption: Get up! Move forward to that place!
Caption: What’s your name?
Caption: You do not know your name?!!
Caption: What? (Your name is) Jehova?!
So they strike their necks, knowing that the kufr and the Muslim who kills him will never be joined together in hellfire. And that if the characteristic of disbelief in itself, which permits the blood and wealth of the disbelievers, for as long as the kufr continues to abide by falsehood and refuses to submit to the sharia of Allah, there is no protection for his blood, or his wealth. For, while Islam is a spring of dignity, disbelief is a spring of disgrace.
Captions: “Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam)
Caption: “Among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” [At-Taubah, 29]
Caption (screen left): OPPRESSION Muslims’ property (Garissa); Caption (screen right): RETRIBUTION Disbelievers’ property (Mpeketoni)
Tonight, it is the flag of tawhid that flutters triumphant through the streets of Mpeketoni, the town having been cleansed of the Kenyan disbelievers. And it won’t be long before the flames of tawhid illuminate the remaining towns and villages of the coastal region.
But our war is not fought over towns and villages, or barren fields of land. Nor is it based on geographical boundaries, or difference of language and culture. Rather, it’s a war between two opposing ideologies. And throughout the centuries, the nature of this war has not changed in the slightest: It’s a war of Islam against kufr — belief against disbelief, and truth against falsehood.
-Which part of Mombasa do you live in?
-(I live in) Kisauni area.
-Kisauni right. My friend I hope you are not lying to me.
-Walllahi that’s the truth. (I am not lying because) I fear my Lord.
-No problem brother, just fear your Lord, perform your prayers. Is there anyone else inside here?
-I don’t know. I was on my own in my room when I came down to surrender myself.
-Alright, don’t worry.
Mpeketoni Police Station
The following night, it was the village of Poromoko
Female reporter: There were at least fifteen people killed overnight in the most recent attack in the village of Poromonko.
Second female reporter: The Kenyan Red Cross says that government launched an attack on Poromoko. The town lies on the coast between Mombasa and the Somali border.
BBC correspondent Dennis Okari: In total, there are at least 65 and that number could go high, because there are still more bodies to be retrieved from the forest and the bushes. And the Kenyan Red Cross has actually said that 52 people are reported missing; they are unaccounted for.
In the village of Pandanguo, all the Kuffar [disbelievers] fled into the bushes before the Mujahideen arrived. The Mujahideen then addressed the local Muslim villagers, reassuring them that no harm shall befall them, for their blood and wealth is protected by Islam.
The blood of a Muslim is inviolable!
I want to speak to you on behalf of my brothers, Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahideen, (to clarify to you) that the propaganda being spread by the kuffar on the radio is baseless.
We are people who do not want corruption to spread on earth and the reason why we’ve taken up arms is to make sure that corruption and vice do not prevail on earth.
Moreover, our objective is not Kenya only. Kenya is merely a small country.
Allah says: “O Prophet (Muhammad)! Strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and be harsh against them, their abode is Hell — and worst indeed is that destination” [At-Taubah, 73].
Allah has ordained upon us to fight against the Kuffar: “Jihad is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it” [Al Baqarah, 216].
Therefore the propaganda that the kuffar spread against us has no basis at all.
We want to make sure that the rule of the Quran governs the whole world.
Then, look at how the Kenyan Government, in collaboration with the whole world, has labelled us as terrorists, while in reality they are the ones who have invaded Muslim lands.
They have killed our Sheikhs and they have oppressed us. They have really oppressed us!
The Prophet (sallalaahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) informed us that Islam will prevail and that the whole world will be governed by the Qur’an whether the Kuffar [disbelievers] like it or not
Therefore, my dear brothers, strive hard and we will continue to fight these Kuffar [disbelievers] until Allah judges between us and them.
My dear old man, from your looks, I can estimate that you are more than seventy years old but unfortunately you have no title deed for your farm.
Voices from the congregation: “It’s right we have none (title deed).”
(What adds insult to the injury is that) a Kafir will come here today with a title deed and tell you this land does not belong to you. What will you tell him then?
Voices from the congregation: “Absolutely nothing!”
You will be left with no choice but to surrender the land to him.
Mujahid: You are a Muslim right? / Resident: Yes, that’s right
Then there is no problem. Do not be afraid of us for we are your Muslim brothers. We are your brothers from Al-Shabaab and we do not harm Muslims.
Had we found any Kuffar [disbelievers] here, we would have just killed them but now that we found our Muslim brothers living here, we have no problem with you at all.
We did not come here to kill our Muslim brothers, because spilling the blood of a Muslim is forbidden in Islam. And if I were to kill you now, I would also have to be killed as retribution.
Our goal is to return this Muslim land that originally belongs to you back into your possession. And sooner or later we will drive these Kuffar [disbelievers] out of there. We do not fear the blame of the blamers!
We will drive them out insha-Allah and all of this land will be returned to you, the Muslims, so that you can cultivate the farms
And do not fear like the Kuffar who keep on moving out whenever they hear that Al-Shabaab has come to Lamu or Tana River. Do not fear, it’s just us who are paying a visit!
The aim of our jihad is to make the word of Allah the highest, striking the falsehood of disbelief with the invincible sword of tawhid. It’s the birth of a new dawn, and a new era is on the horizon. And now, with the mujahidin making inroads into the occupied Muslim lands in Kenya and beyond, it’s time to redraw the East African map.