NAIROBI Jan 25 A Twitter account run by Somali
militant group al Shabaab was unavailable on Friday, days after
the al Qaeda-aligned rebels used the social media site to boast
about killing a French agent and threatened to kill several
Al Shabaab often used its Twitter account to claim
responsibility for attacks on African Union and Somali
government troops, as well as senior officials in the Horn of
Africa nation and other bombings in the region.
But the militant group's official Twitter account, which had
thousands of followers, was offline on Friday with a message
saying "Sorry, that user is suspended".
It was not immediately clear why the account, which was
created in 2011 under the HSM PRESS Twitter handle, was
suspended. The account was still unavailable as of 0930 GMT.
Twitter said it does not comment on individual accounts and
the Kenyan government denied it had filed any request for the
account to be taken down.
"It's an emphatic no. We would not try to negotiate or have
anything to do with the Al Shabaab. We didn't even know the
account was suspended," said government spokesman Muthui
Al Shabaab posted on the account on Wednesday a link to a
video of two Kenyan civil servants held hostage in Somalia,
telling the Kenyan government their lives were in danger unless
it released all Muslims held on "so-called terrorism charges" in
"Kenyan government has three weeks, starting midnight
24/01/2013 to respond to the demands of HSM if the prisoners are
to remain alive," the group said.
Last week the rebel group said on its Twitter account that
it had executed French agent Dennis Allex, who was held hostage
since 2009, after a French commando mission to rescue him
Al Shabaab wants to impose their strict version of sharia,
or Islamic law, across Somalia. However, it has lost significant
territory in the southern and central parts of the country in
the face of an offensive by African Union troops.
(Reporting by Drazen Jorgic and George Obulutsa; Editing by Jon