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The attack by Al Shabaab militants on the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi, Kenya, left scores of people dead from over a dozen countries.  This episode of the podcast looks at the origins of Al Shabaab, its characteristics and offers a considered view of what is driving this dangerous, murderous gang.  The question of the role of the ‘White Widow’ Samantha Lewthwaite in the Nairobi assault and Al Shabaab in general is discussed, and I also outline the relevance of the British colonial strategy of ‘pseudo gangs’ during the Mau Mau uprising of the 1950s.


Independent – Kenya shopping mall attack: Who are al-Shabaab, the multinational force of terror at the heart of the Nairobi shopping centre massacre?

Belfast Telegraph – Kenya terror: Is white widow Samantha Lewthwaite dead or alive?

Newsniffer archive – Guardian – Kenya mall hostage crisis over, say officials

Frank Kitson – Gangs and Counter-gangs

Telegraph – Nairobi shopping mall attack: a new source of terror

Yahoo News – Why Africa is the new locus of terror

Make Jihad with Me – Omar Hammami