GARISSA, Kenya — According to a local government official, al-Shabaab — a Somalia-based, al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group that wants to establish an Islamic caliphate in Kenya and Somalia — is demanding ransom for the return of President Obama’s official Kenya birth certificate, which they claim was confiscated during attacks on government buildings and a university here.
The governor for the region said that during the attacks, which happened three weeks ago, the terrorists looted and ransacked several government buildings and massacred nearly 150 Christian students at Garissa University.
Garissa is the county seat and administrative center for the northeast Kenya jurisdiction that includes the village of Karabondi, the ancestral home for the Obamas of Kenya.
In a press conference, Garissa governor Nathif Jama Adam admitted that a few days after the attacks he received communications from al-Shabab demanding “outrageous money” for the return of sensitive government documents seized during the attacks.
The governor refused to specify if the documents included the birth certificate of President Obama.
“We are aware of the rumors going around in various media, particularly the international press, but this is a local matter that will be handled by my office,” said Mr. Adam. “Because the documents are sensitive government documents, we can’t talk about them. But this is a matter relevant for this jurisdiction only.”
However, a local government council member with knowledge of Mr. Adam’s communications with al-Shabaab — but who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to be identified as discussing sensitive government information — confirmed that one of the document is indeed President Obama’s birth certificate. He said the matter had been “hushed up everywhere in the country, everywhere.”
“It’s gotten all the way up to [Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta] in Nairobi,” the council member said. “They’re trying to simmer it down as fast as possible. But Shabaab will probably get the money because it’s bigger than Kenya now.”
“Shabaab is clever,” he added. “They say they got contacts in America and will contact Bonner [Speaker John Boehner] or Cain [Senator John McCain] and sell it to them if they didn’t get the money soon. So they want them to settle this real
Responding by telephone from Nairobi, a spokesperson for President Kenyatta said they had no comment because it’s a local matter. “Now with devolution [Kenya’s recently decentralization national government], the federal government stays out of local matters,” the spokesperson said.
Telephone calls to the offices of John Boehner and John McCain were not returned.
Aruf Hummanah-Hummanah contributed to this report from Nairobi. Givhans N. Cites contributed from Washington.
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