Me: Can you tell me your story about finding out about the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York on 9/11/2001? Like, how you found out about it, when, and what you thought about it?

Penpal: I got to know of the news on CNN our local channels picked it up from CNN and gave us live feeds form CNN international It was in all our channels.

My brother Benjamin was in the United States at the time so he called us just to let us know he is fine and whoever I meet was saying America was under attack and told we were advised to stay alert because terrorists usually do attack multiple targets.

In Kenya we had a bomb blast in Nairobi August 7, 2008 so I could relate but the 9/11 was in a much bigger scale. What I was certain about is that America will retaliate in some way and as the world’s super power It was sad to see it attacked and the lose of lives. On the other hand it just shows how all of us are venerable to such attacks.

Me: That’s scary to know somebody who might be in the middle of what’s going on. My dad’s side of the family lives in New York, and my cousin is an NY firefighter, so my whole family was anxiously waiting to hear from them to make sure they were all ok.

Do you know who set the bomb in Nairobi in 2008 and what it blew up? What was the reaction from it?

Do Kenyans use the word “terrorism” or “terrorist” to talk about people or groups who do things like create riots or set bombs in Kenya? I know that right now, “terrorist” is a word that most of the world uses to describe Al Qaeda and other Muslim extremists, but other groups do the types of things they do – like bombings and creating civilian casualties. What kind of stuff goes on in Kenya? I know that Moses and his family had to leave where they were living in Migori because they aren’t Lua. Do people call the attacks/raids/riots that go on “tribal clashes,” or how else do you refer to other political/tribal mayhem?

Penpal: Yes we use the word terrorist and terrorism mostly against Muslim’s extremists but not riots. Just a few days ago we had a Muslim cleric from Jamaica cause riots in Nairobi. He was from Tanzania and was in the no fly list of the USA. When Kenyan authorities learn’t he was in the country he was detained pending deportation. He was flown out of the country but upon reaching Gabon the airline refused him so he come back to Kenya. Muslims in Nairobi wanted him released. So they organised a demonstration which the government refused to license and this caused a riot. There is a mosque in downtown Nairobi and during Friday service they started rioting. Apparently there is a fresh produce market near the mosque so the traders were furious because when such things happen customers can’t come to by things so they loose alot of money. And this turned out to be a fight between traders and the Muslims and the looters joint in and the battles went on for a better part of the Morning.

Kenya boarders Somalia to the East so we have a lot of Somali immigrants in our country and to some extent we have terrorist cells in Kenya. We have had major crack down on some of the wanted terrorist suspects and they are very slippery and seem to get away from police arrests. On the other hand our export and import business is greatly hampered by the Somali Pirates we refer to them as terrorists.

In Kenya we have several conflicts: Tribal clashes fueled by land disputes and tribal hatred, Cattle rustling: Other tribes steeling other tribes cattle this is mainly in the northern part of Kenya where we have pastoral communities/tribes. It has been going on since I can remember and finally Illegal gangs: The biggest is Mungiki it is an extortionist group which demands money to transporters and residence of some parts of the country. (You can read about Mungiki in Wikipedia.

Kenya is experiencing another kind of threat from Somali which is economic since they have alot of dollars from ransom money they are buying alot of real estate property in Nairobi and it has prompted the government to audit land in Kenya and they want to learn who owns what and how they acquired it.