Insurgents relocating to Somalia

2010-07-08 21:19

Nairobi - Veteran insurgents from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have relocated to the chaotic country of Somalia in large enough numbers to spark worry inside the international community, Kenya's foreign minister said on Thursday.

Calling the situation in Somalia "very, very dire," Moses Wetangula said the militants have relocated to Kenya's northern neighbour because of the safehaven offered by a country with no functioning government.

"There have been Afghans, there have been Pakistanis, there have been certain Middle Eastern nationalities, quite a number.

Intelligence reports indicate that there's quite a cocktail of them," Wetangula told The Associated Press.

"We can't quite quantify them. It's simply not possible in a situation such as that, but there are sufficient numbers to worry us and worry the international community," he said.

Somali government spokesperson Abdulkadir Walayo did not immediately answer calls seeking comment.

But officials in the past said hundreds of foreign fighters are ballooning the ranks of Somalia's most feared militant group, al-Shabaab.

Relocation

Wetangula said Somalia's most immediate neighbours, including Kenya, face potential attacks from the militants.

Some al-Shabaab members have pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda, which is blamed for twin bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, attacks that killed 225 people.

Military officials at US Africa Command, the Germany-based headquarters of US military activities in Africa, have told the AP previously there is evidence that fighters from the Afghanistan-Pakistan conflict have relocated to Somalia, but that it was less clear whether militants from Iraq had moved into the Horn of Africa nation.

Al-Shabaab also has recruited Somali nationals living in the United States, Britain and other European countries, Wetangula noted.

Wetangula said he does not believe the United States is doing enough to help the Somali situation, and that greater American involvement could reduce the flow of arms into the country, reduce pirate attacks and increase regional stability.

"The levels of engagement of the United States, the levels of commitment, have been below our expectations.

"America, remember, enjoys the status currently of the only superpower, expected to have the capacity to do some of the things countries with limited capacity like ourselves cannot do, including enforcing Security Council resolutions," he said.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution blocking Somalia's main southern port in Kismayo, a city controlled by al-Shabaab, a blockade meant to paralyse insurgent supplies, Wetangula said.

But he said the US has been reluctant to enforce it.

High profile

"We have been appealing to them to help the government of the TFG (Transitional Federal Government) with equipment, logistics," the foreign minister said.

"They may be helping but I don't think they are helping enough to make a difference."

A US official said he couldn't immediately comment on Wetangula's views but that the state department would soon release a statement.

Since 2007, the US has spent $2m to pay Somali soldiers and purchase supplies and equipment, according to the state department.

Another $12m went toward transport, uniforms and equipment.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since clan-based warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and then turned on each other, sinking the Horn of Africa nation into chaos.

The country has always suffered from a lack of coordination, a lack of a unified security command and a lack of resources, Kenya's foreign minister said.

But he said the country has dropped off the international community's radar and may need a high profile personality to spearhead the issue, he said.

The East African bloc of nations known as IGAD are considering former Ghana President John Kufuor, former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa, or former Botswana President Festus Mogae to take on the role, Wetangula said.

Wetangula also said the Somali government must move past its recent bouts of infighting and focus on the Somali people.

Internal conflict has paralysed the government the last several months.

- AP
Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  kenya  |  somalia  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Dewani Trial
 

Red Bull Lionheart trail run - not for the fainthearted!

Entries are open, so what are you waiting for?

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Adventure holidays for your bucket list
Top 10 water sports to try before you die
6 impressive camping tips
LOL! The 8 stages of marathon running

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is an easy social flow and the need to blend in, yet you may not feel entirely comfortable. Something beneath the surface...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.