AL SHABAB TERROR STRIKE KILLS AT LEAST 17 IN CATHOLIC AND AIC CHURCHES
The bloodiest strike yet on Kenya was this morning perpetrated in the Northern Kenyan town of Garissa, where almost simultaneously two Christian churches were attacked by what is generally thought to be Islamist terrorists from the Al Shabab group, now fighting for survival in Somalia as allied forces are advancing on their last strongholds of Kismayu.
Reports from Kenyan contacts in Mombasa and Nairobi speak of at least 17 worshippers dead and scores of others seriously injured in the blasts and shootings, amongst them children.
The attack on Christian Sunday services was immediately seen as a declaration of war not just on Kenya as a nation but on Christianity too, adding a new dimension to the often cruel terror acts of Al Shabab, which has seen women being stoned to death for being raped, youths beheaded for refusing to be pressed into the service of terror and whatever businesses remain in areas under their shrinking control extorted for money to buy and pay for supplies.
A fleet of aircraft including medivac and intensive care equipped aircraft have been dispatched from Nairobis Wilson Airport when the extend of the terror strike became fully known and are expected to be landing at the Garissa airfield before 4 p.m. local time, then expected back in the capital before last light with the worst cases to receive the best possible medical care.
Regular sources in Kenya attributed the attack on the two churches to the ongoing high level of security in Nairobi, Mombasa and other key Kenyan towns, leaving the terrorists to seek out opportunistic targets like church services, which are not as tightly guarded until now, though two policemen deployed at the scenes were reportedly also killed by the attackers. In the big cities they can only hope to throw a grenade or something like that because security is now very very tight, especially for hotels, restaurants, public places even. So they have now looked for other locations nearer to the Somali border that they can sneak across at night and then hit and run back. It is sad that they claim to be Muslims because they are the devils breed for sure. No God fearing Muslim will condone such acts or commit such acts on other religions services and Christians are as far as we are concerned, as far as the Holy Quran is concerned, people of the book. There is no justification at all in what these murderers did said a regular source from Mombasa to me on the phone just now, who happens to be a practicing Muslim, though in our personal and professional relationship that is of no consequence or importance at all as we both see the value of the individual not in any way influenced by religion, ethnicity or cultural background.
Other sources expressed shock as apparently the news was slow in spreading across Kenya on a Sunday, but from other sources close to the state machinery it was learned that new add measures will now be put into place to also protect places of worship in the same way as other public gatherings are subject to security checks. Already high security in Nairobi and Mombasa was reportedly also stepped up further with yet more intense checks on cars and individuals while some hotels too have added an extra layer of security screening before vehicles can enter into the resort or hotel compounds or individuals are admitted into the premises.
Sincere and heartfelt condolences are expressed to the families and friends of those who lost loved ones in this mornings twin terror strikes.
Archive for July 1st, 2012
Al Shabab terrorists strike two Christian churches in Garissa, kill 17 at least and injure scores of others
AL SHABAB TERROR STRIKE KILLS AT LEAST 17 IN CATHOLIC AND AIC CHURCHES
GLOBAL AIRCRAFT LEASING GIANTS EYE A SHARE OF KQS EXPANSION PLANS
The shortfall of over 6 billion Kenya Shillings during the recent share rights issue by The Pride of Africa and its implications for the companys financial structure in the medium term has raised renewed interest in the carrier by global leasing giants, which are reportedly taking a fresh look at Kenya Airways with the aim to get a bigger slice of their business in coming years.
While in business terms called a success, after exceeding the cash / percentage target of 70 percent, the missing 6+ billion Kenya Shillings on the paid up shares side of the balance sheet will nevertheless cause some additional brainstorming amongst top executives of KQ, now that a deal for the pre-financing of 20 brand new aircraft with Cairo based AFEXIMBANK has been signed and sealed last week.
KQ presently operates a fleet of 35 aircraft, with deliveries of a further 10 Embraer 190 now commencing in August instead of as earlier indicated in July, but the 10 year strategic Plan Mawingo target stands at 119 aircraft, including a dozen wide and narrow body freighters, leaving a significant gap between the aircraft financed and due for delivery in the medium term and the number actually spelled out on paper.
While sections of the Kenyan financial media are speculating over the need to start planning for more share rights issues in coming years, to keep the debt to equity ratio within acceptable levels, the airline is reportedly also exploring other options such as using operating leases for additional new aircraft.
The acquisition over the next 10 years of at least 64 additional aircraft, taking the present fleet size of 35 and the 20 for which finance has last week been secured, will make Kenya Airways a juicy target for such companies as ILFC or GECAS amongst others, as it could result in long term lease contracts for new jets of 12 and more years, paid for out of the cash flow East Africas predominant airline is generating rather than having to go back for the entire package to the shareholders to finance outright purchases.
Already have jitters hit individual shareholders with the share price during the weeks trading at the NSE hitting just 13 Kenya Shillings, while the institutional shareholders are reportedly thinking more long term; still, when the full year results were announced two weeks ago in Nairobi they showed that profits for the 2011/12 financial year had halved compared to the 2010/11 period. With continuously high fuel prices, rising labour costs in particular for crews and added competition though KQ is expected to take a major windfall in passengers and boosted load factors on the London route when Virgin is quitting Nairobi in September they too however will keep a close watch over future profitability to ensure a decent return on their investment, which could impact on the willingness of financial investors to commit significant future funds for new shares, while the Kenya Government and KLM, the two largest shareholders, will undoubtedly back Kenya Airways no matter what.
Additional aircraft to come on line under the airlines strategic 10 year plan are a combination of narrow and wide body aircraft, including more of the B787 Dreamliners but also the long range B777s, B737NextGen and yet more Embraers. Other manufacturers though have interesting enough not been ruled out at this stage as in particular the option of turbo prop aircraft is reportedly being looked at again by KQ. This would indicate that Bombardier during their recent visit, when they showcased their Q400 in Nairobi, may have made an impression big enough to follow up on as in especially their new CSeries appears to offer unprecedented operating economics for jet aircraft and appear right sized to fit in with the objectives of becoming Africas predominant airline.
Given a fleet size right now of 35 aircraft, the intermediate 5 year from now target according to Plan Mawingo stands at 76 for the FY 2016/17. This is includes the departure of all aged B767 aircraft, currently standing at 6, but significantly the operation of as many as 16 B787-800, 9 B777, 26 B737NG and 25 Embraer aircraft.
Though Kenya is now heading into general elections, due to be held by March 2013, and will undergo significant internal administrative changes as a result of the new constitution, the countrys medium and long term prospects are broadly judged as encouraging. And as the East African Communitys economic engine for growth, plans for new transport corridors to connect Ethiopia and South Sudan and the more recent oil finds all speak for Kenya Airwaysambitions to become reality, even though a range of challenges and hurdles remain to be resolved along the way. Watch this space to stay up to date with information from and about East Africas vibrant aviation sector.