Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kenya seeks Somalia’s clarification on al shabaab operation

Wednesday, 26th October 2011

By Online Team
The Kenyan Government is seeking clarification from Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government on its stand concerning Kenya’s military incursion into Somalia, following reports that President Sheikh Sharif is opposed to the move.
In a statement to the press on Wednesday, Internal Security Minister George Saitoti said it was essential to have a unified approach in dealing with the destabilization of Somalia by Al Shabaab and its threats to peace and security to Kenya and the Region.
Internal Security Minister George Saitoti
The claims by President Ahmed were made on October 24 according to a BBC report. And in a quick rejoinder on October 25, Somali MPs and elders disowned their president’s statement over Kenya’s military operations in Somalia. President Ahmed’s remarks were made a week after Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetangula and his Defence counterpart Yusuf Haji travelled to Somalia where they held a meeting with President Ahmed and Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed in Mogadishu over the Kenya military offensive against the al Shabaab.
On their return to Kenya, Wetangula said the Kenya delegation to Somalia narrowly escaped a bomb attack in the capital Mogadishu that killed five people after changing their travel plans at the last minute.
Wetangula said that Kenya had not invaded Somalia but that rather, had only responded to Mogadishu’s request for support in wiping out the al Shabaab.
"Thereafter a joint communiquÈ outlining the joint operation between the Somali Transitional Government, Kenya and other IGAD states was issued jointly by Somali and Kenyan Ministers," Saitoti said in the press statement.
Wetangula said both the AU and the Ethiopian government had offered Kenya their support in its military offensive against the Somali militants.
A BBC report stated that Ahmed spoke to journalists at the scene of recent fighting in Mogadishu on October 24, saying Kenyan support in terms of training and logistics was welcome but his government and the people of Somalia were opposed to the presence of the Kenyan army.
For more than two years, President Ahmed's weak UN-backed interim government has been battling al-Shabab, an al Qaeda-linked group which controls much of south and central Somalia.
In mid October Kenya sent soldiers over its border into Somalia to pursue the al shabaab militants.
Kenya blames the al shabaab for a recent spate of kidnappings of tourists near the border, which al-Shabab denies.
Awaiting communication from the Somali government, Kenya in collaboration with IGAD and AU, is continuing with the operation against Al Shabaab, said Saitoti.

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