Britain to seek further delay to Brexit, says May

Theresa May said she will seek a short extension of Brexit in order to pass the deal she agreed with the European Union. (Getty Images)
Updated 02 April 2019

Britain to seek further delay to Brexit, says May

  • Theresa May: Leaving with a deal is the best solution - this debate, this division, cannot drag on much longer
  • May offered to meet Labour’s Corbyn to agree on a Brexit plan that could overcome resistance from MPs

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May said Tuesday she will seek another “short” extension of Brexit in order to pass the deal she agreed with the European Union.
May came out of seven hours of crunch talks with her ministers and also offered to meet opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for negotiation on a joint approach that could break the current impasse in parliament.
“Leaving with a deal is the best solution,” May said from her Downing Street office in nationally-televised remarks.
“We will need a further extension to Article 50, one that is as short as possible, and which ends when we pass a deal,” she said.
Article 50 is the withdrawal notice May sent to Brussels in March 2017.
EU leaders have agreed to extend the original March 29 Brexit deadline until April 12 to avoid a chaotic “no-deal” ending to the 46-year EU-UK partnership.
May stressed that the 27 EU leaders would need to know why Brexit should be pushed back again before approving her request, which needs unanimous support.
“We need to be clear what such an extension is for to ensure we leave in a timely and orderly way,” she said.
“This debate, this division, cannot drag on much longer.”
May said she wanted to meet Corbyn “to try to agree a plan — that we would both stick to — to ensure that we leave the European Union and that we do so with a deal.”
There was no immediate response to her comments from the Labour leader.
The House of Commons has rejected May’s divorce deal with Brussels three times and is currently trying to come up with an alternative way forward.
Its two initial attempts to reach a consensus on a Plan B have failed.


Two accomplices in Kenya’s Westgate attack jailed for 33 and 18 years

Updated 23 min 23 sec ago

Two accomplices in Kenya’s Westgate attack jailed for 33 and 18 years

  • Mohamed Ahmed Abdi and Hassan Hussein Mustafa, both 31, were found guilty on October 7 of conspiring with and supporting the four assailants
  • The convicted men were in regular contact with the attackers who at midday on September 21, 2013, stormed the upscale Westgate mall in the Kenyan capital

NAIROBI: A Kenyan court Friday handed prison terms of 33 and 18 years respectively to two men accused of conspiring with the Al-Shabab extremists who attacked Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall in 2013, killing 67 people.

Mohamed Ahmed Abdi and Hassan Hussein Mustafa, both 31, were found guilty on October 7 of conspiring with and supporting the four assailants from the Somalia-based extremist group who died in what was then Kenya’s worst terrorist attack in 15 years.

The accused asked the judge for leniency, saying they had already served seven years behind bars and had family to care for.

“Despite mitigation by their defense lawyers on their innocence, the offense committed was serious, devastating, destructive, that called for a punishment by the court,” Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi told a Nairobi courtroom.

He sentenced the men to 18 years for conspiracy and 18 for supporting extremists, but ordered they serve both terms together. Abdi was also given an additional 15 years for two counts of possessing extremist propaganda material on his laptop.

He will serve 26 years and Mustafa 11, taking into account their pre-trial detention.

The convicted men were in regular contact with the attackers who at midday on September 21, 2013, stormed the upscale Westgate mall in the Kenyan capital and began throwing grenades and firing indiscriminately on shoppers and business owners.

A four-day siege ensued — much of it broadcast live on television — during which Kenyan security forces tried to flush out the gunmen and take back the high-end retail complex.

Although there was no specific evidence Abdi and Mustafa had provided material help, the court was satisfied their communication with the attackers amounted to supporting the armed rampage, and justified the guilty verdict for conspiracy.

The marathon trial began in January 2014. A third accused was acquitted of all charges.
The Westgate attack was claimed by Al-Shabab in retaliation for Kenya intervening military over the border in Somalia, where the extremist group was waging a bloody insurgency against the fragile central government.

Kenya is a major contributor of troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which in 2011 drove Al-Shabab out of Mogadishu and other urban strongholds after a months-long offensive.

In a car the attackers drove to Westgate, police found evidence of newly-activated SIM cards used by the gunmen. Their communications were traced, including calls to Mohamed Ahmed Abdi and Hassan Hussein Mustafa.

A fourth defendant, Adan Mohammed Abdikadir, was acquitted in early 2019 for lack of evidence.

The Westgate attack was the deadliest incident of violent extremism on Kenyan soil since the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi, which killed 213 people.

But since the assault on the shopping complex, Al-Shabab has perpetrated further atrocities in Kenya against civilian targets.

In April 2015, gunmen entered Garissa University and killed 148 people, almost all of them students. Many were shot point blank after being identified as Christians.

In January 2019, the militants struck Nairobi again, hitting the Dusit Hotel and surrounding offices and killing 21 people.

Al-Shabab warned in a January statement that Kenya “will never be safe” as long as its troops were stationed in Somalia, and threatened further attacks on tourists and US interests.

That same month, Al-Shabab attacked a US military base in northeast Kenya in a cross-border raid, killing three Americans and destroying a number of aircraft.