|Join Our Mailing List|
Somalis who trade in and use donkeys are feeling decidedly nervous Friday, after the Kenyan military issued an anti-donkey blast, accusing the beasts (or at least some of their owners) of collaborating with al-Shabaab.
Army spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir, who is fast becoming a twitter legend, on Thursday night tweeted that Kenyan along the border with Somalia should not sell their animals to al-Shabaab as the insurgent group was using the to move weapons.
“Selling donkeys to al-Shabaab will undermine our efforts in Somalia,” he wrote.
Chirchir’s fears are legitimate, as border residents say al-Shabaab has been using the beasts of burden to move weapons in muddy conditions brought on by heavy rain. However, donkey traders are now concerned they may be targeted for their legitimate business, while residents in al-Shabaab-controlled areas fear they may be subject of air strikes if they venture out with their donkeys, or face having their donkeys appropriated by the militants.
“I have four donkeys one female and three males, which I use to transport water and charcoal for sale,” an Afmadow resident told Somalia Report. “I’m worried Kenya may target them or al-Shabaab will take them to transport weapons because of the rain.”
This isn't the first time donkeys have been accused of working with al-Shabaab. In September, one donkey was arrested as it pulled an IED through Mogadishu.