Somalia and Kenya to seek global help against al-Shabaab

2011-11-01 09:50

Somalia and Kenya will today be talking with diplomats in Nairobi, trying to galvanize international support for an ongoing military operation against Islamist insurgent group al-Shabaab.

In a joint communiqué, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his Somalia counterpart, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, asked yesterday for international help to patrol the coast off the Somali port of Kismayu, which they believe is an economic hub supporting al-Shabaab.

Ali said the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was fully behind Kenya, which sent its military over the border into its northern neighbour last month to fight the Islamists, who it blames for a spate of kidnappings.

He said the Somali government would ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the rebels, who have been accused of human rights abuses, including preventing humanitarian aid from reaching Somali civilians.

“The TFG will seek ICC assistance in beginning immediate investigations into crimes against humanity committed by individuals within the al-Shabaab movement, with the aim of seeking their indictment,” said the statement.

The announcement of support for Kenya came after Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed said last week it was “inappropriate” that Nairobi’s army was operating outside its own borders.

“I came with the blessing of the president. We will work with the Kenya government. There’s no discord,” said Ali.

“Somalia is a friendly country and we want to see it stable. The whole world wants peace in Somalia. It has taken long. Many have tried in vain, but we can’t wait for a solution to come from heaven. We have to make our own efforts,” Odinga was quoted as saying by the Nation newspaper after his meetings with the visiting Somali delegation.

Kenya’s operation has been moving more slowly than originally thought. It remained unclear what Nairobi’s final objective is, though the idea of setting up a buffer zone in southern Somalia has been floated. 

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