Monday, February 20, 2012
Kenyan troops intensified attacks on Al-Shabaab in Somalia with air strikes on a key rebel settlement at the weekend.
They carried out air strikes in Xhwayo Town, 30 kilometres from Belles Qoockani Town on their way to Afmadow.
The commander of Kenya’s forces in central Somalia,
Lt Col Jeff Nyagah, said Al-Shabaab insurgents had concentrated most of
their logistical material and war tanks in southern Somalia.
Kenyan forces went into Somalia last year in an
attempt to crush the Al-Shabaab militia group that was accused of
abducting tourists and civil servants besides grenade attacks in the
“We have not estimated the damages caused by the attack,” Lt Col Nyagah said.
On Sunday, Lt Col Nyagah said they had noted an increase in
population in the towns that had been liberated by the Kenya Defence
He cited Hosingow and Dhobley as towns whose populations had risen after being liberated.
He said that in the recently liberated Hosingow, the population had increased from 150 to 500 people.
“More people had abandoned their homes due to the
drought and the fighting that marked the first phase of the operation,
but they are now returning,” he said.
Care-Somalia and the World Food Programme have
moved to the towns to provide relief food. The Fying Doctors have also
moved to the area.
“The families are being given food coupons of $100 (Sh8,300) to buy the supplies not provided for by the food donors,” he said.
At the same time, President Kibaki will lead a high-powered Kenyan delegation to a conference on Somalia in London.
Top officials from more than 40 countries and
multi-lateral organisations converge in London on Thursday to craft a
new international approach to Somalia.
The leaders will discuss how the international
community can step up its efforts to tackle the root causes and effects
of the problems in the country and find a way forward after expiry of
the Somalia Transitional Federal Government (TFG) term in August.
Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetang’ula, who arrived from Turkey on
Sunday, said Internal Security Minister George Saitoti, Defence Minister
Yusuf Haji and himself would be part of the delegation to London.
UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon, Uganda President Yoweri
Museveni and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi are also slated to
attend the conference.
Mr Wetang’ula said Somalia leaders had come up with a structure to be used to govern the country when the TFG term ends.
The troubled Horn of Africa country is to adopt federalism with devolved units and a strong apex at the top, Mr Wetang’ula said.
The minister was hopeful the UN Security Council
would approve Kenya Defence Forces plans to join the African Union
forces before the London meeting.