BlackFacts Details


Deputy President William Ruto pleaded not guilty to charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in early September 2013. The charges stem from the violence that followed the 2007 election. President Kenyatta is scheduled to appear before the court in November. Days before Ruto appeared at the ICC, parliament voted to withdraw from the court.

Members of Al-Shabab, an Islamic militant group that is allied with al-Qaeda and based in Somalia, attacked an upscale mall in Nairobi beginning on Sept. 21, 2013, killing nearly 70 people and wounding about 175. The siege lasted for several days, with persistent fighting between government troops and militants. The attack was meticulously planned, and the militants proved to be challenging for the government to dislodge from the Westgate mall. Shabab, based in Somalia, said the attack was in retaliation for the Kenyan militarys role in helping Somalia battle the militant group. In the wake of the violence, the ICC suspended the trial of Ruto so he could return to Kenya and assist in managing the crisis.

Over the course of two nights in June 2014, the Shabab slaughtered at least 65 non-Muslims in Mpeketoni, a town near the resort island of Lamu. Most of the victims were members of the Kikuyu tribe—the one to which Kenyatta belongs. Although Shabab claimed responsibility for the massacres, saying they were in retribution for the recent shooting of three radical Muslim clerics in Mombasa, Kenyatta said his political opponents carried out the attacks. Tourism has plunged amid the ongoing violence.

The Shabab continued its campaign against non-Muslims throughout 2014. In attacks in November and December, the group killed more than 60 people in remote villages.

On April 2, 2015, Shabab militants attacked Garissa University College in northeast Kenya. In a daylong siege, the militants separated Muslims and non-Muslims, sparing Muslims. The non-Muslims were taken hostage and more than 140 were killed. Security officials freed the surviving hostages and