Al-Shabaab has threatened to execute Kenyan hostages if the Kenyan government fails to release Muslim prisoners facing terrorism charges, the group announced via Twitter on Wednesday (January 23rd).
Al-Shabaab released a video titled "The Final Message" featuring two men and a photograph of four others, who the militants said were Kenyan prisoners.
The "Kenyan government has 3 weeks, starting midnight 24/01/2013 to respond to the demands of HSM [Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen] if the prisoners are to remain alive," it said, indicating that the ultimatum expires on February 14th. "Following the expiration of this period, all the kuffar [non-Muslim] Kenyan prisoners who appeared in the recent video will be executed."
Kenya must also "secure the release of Muslims extradited to Uganda for terrorism charges", it added, apparently referring to those jailed or on trial for al-Shabaab's July 2010 twin bombings that killed at least 74 people in Kampala, Uganda, AFP reported.
The video has not been verified and it is unclear how many Kenyans al-Shabaab may hold.