AU 'understands' Kenya incursion in Somalia

2011-10-20 08:39

Addis Ababa - The African Union on Wednesday said it understood the reasons for Kenya's unilateral military intervention in Somalia but stopped short of endorsing Nairobi's move.

"I don't say support, I say understand the motivations of the operations, in order to put an end to the capabilities of the Shabaab," said Noureddine Mezni, AU spokesperson, in response to an AFP question.

On Sunday, Kenya confirmed it had sent troops across its border with Somalia to hunt Shabaab insurgents it accuses of being responsible for the kidnappings of a British tourist, a disabled French woman who has since died in captivity and two Spanish aid workers.

The pan-African body has a 9 000-strong UN-mandated military force made up of Ugandan and Burundian soldiers deployed in Mogadishu to protect the weak Western-backed government there and battle Islamist rebels.

It was unclear how long Kenyan troops intended to stay in southern Somalia but a deal struck between Nairobi and the transitional Somali government on Tuesday limits Kenyan operations to the southern region of Lower Juba.

Analysts say Kenya wants to create a buffer zone on the Somali side of its border in order to ensure security at the huge Dadaab refugee camp and in popular coastal tourist resorts where the kidnappings occurred.

  • Felix - 2011-10-20 08:51

    Flush them out.

  • John - 2011-10-20 09:56

    Typical wishy-washy response from the AU. Kenya is at least trying to solve an African problem by Africans.

  • ABdul - 2011-10-20 10:28

    this 'problem' would not be there if the international community didn't try and impose a foreign appointed government in Somalia. When the internal fighting ended we should have left them alone, instead of trying to appoint a transitional government. The AU put us all to shame when they didn't oppose the invasion of Ethiopia. They were not attached but didn’t approve of the winner of the Somalia civil war. Kenya was not attached by Somalia either. Kenya is the victim of criminals. Those that did the crime should be prosecuted, instead they chose regime change.

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