NAIROBI Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki on Saturday called on the international community to help consolidate security gains which have been realized in Somalia to stabilize the Horn of Africa nation.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Speaking during the celebrations to mark the Heroes Day in Nairobi, Kibaki also vowed to intensify regional peace initiatives to ensure that peace and stability reigns within the borders.
“I also appeal to the international community to come to the aid of the people of Somalia to ensure that they consolidate the gains made so far. In bringing about peace in our neighboring country, we shall also intensify efforts to ensure that peace and stability reigns within our borders,” he said.
The Kenyan leader’s remarks came as Kenyan forces that are part of the UN-backed Africa Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and allied forces continued with pacification and consolidation of gains made after the Sept. 28 capture of the city of Kismayo.
The capture of the Somalia’s third largest city has since seen several insurgents surrender to the AU forces and Somalia National Army.
Kibaki noted that as part of the reconstruction of Somalia, there is need to take urgent measures to disarm those surrendering so as to avoid regrouping of the same.
He said the interest of Kenya which hosted protracted negotiations that culmination in the formation of the transitional government in 2005 in Nairobi was to bring peace and stability in the Horn of Africa nation.
“I would like to reiterate that Kenya’s only interest in Somalia is to bring peace, stability and eventual prosperity to our neighbors. We would like to see our 700,000 Somali brothers and sisters who live in refugee camps safely return to their motherland,” Kibaki said.
Kibaki said Kenya is ready to extend any possible assistance towards addressing the priority areas identified by the Somalia government noting that this process can be undertaken through the frame work provided by the Joint Commission for Cooperation.
Despite the capture of Kismayo, the al Qaida allied militants have vowed to attack Nairobi after the east African nation which hosted protracted negotiations that culminated in the signing of the federal charter for Somalia in 2005, invaded Somalia to flush out the insurgents it blamed for kidnappings of tourists.
“We will not relent in the work we have begun. We will continue until we succeed,” Kibaki vowed and called on security officers to flush out criminal gangs which have been causing insecurity across the country. He said the soldiers will remain in Somalia only and when it’s necessary.
“I once again send my heartfelt condolences to the families and relatives of our brave men and women who have lost their lives in the defense of their motherland. I also condole with the families of security forces who have died in the line of duty while hunting down terrorists and other dangerous elements within our borders,” Kibaki said.
The Kenyan police officers have stepped up security in all hotels, key buildings and restaurants, particularly along the border with neighboring Somalia where al Qaida-linked fighters are waging an insurgency to avert reprisals.
The police said they are concerned that most public facilities have lowered their security alertness unlike early this year when Kenya started pursuing Al-Shabaab.
The authorities beefed up security in central Nairobi on Saturday as the country marked the first post-colonial war against insurgents blamed for a series of bomb and grenade attacks in Somalia.
Nyayo National Stadium, the venue of the celebrations was cordoned off with heavily armed security officers in the wake of terror threats from al Qaida allied group, Al-Shabaab.
“To achieve more prosperity for our people, we must guarantee our nation’s security. This is the reason why one year ago our Kenya Defense Forces were mandated by the Cabinet and Parliament, to pursue and deal with the threat of Al-Shabaab inside Somalia,” Kibaki said.
Together with other AMISOM forces and the Somali government Army, he said KDF have made major gains in dealing with the Al- Shabaab menace.
“Early this month, the forces successfully took control of the Port of Kismayu. I commend our KDF forces, the Somali Government Forces and AMISOM for a well executed take-over of Kismayu,” Kibaki added.
The Kenyan operation code-named, Linda Nchi, (Protect our Nation), has mostly enjoyed a solid public backing for its resoluteness in dealing with the threat of the Al-Shabaab on the economic, social and political interests of Kenya.
Military projections are that the war is already almost won with most of the operational targets hit and crippled and that the group’s core commanders have been either wounded, captured or handed over to the Somali authorities.
The incursions have also been intended to target Kenyan government officials in an effort to win concessions for the Al- Shabaab’s top leadership keen on dialogue.
But diplomatic dispatches later showed a total rejection of any form of overtures by the Al-Shabaab to seek political negotiations with Ethiopia, the U.S. and the British governments declaring such would revive a group that is soon to be forgotten.
The UN and the African Union agree that Somalia requires coherent military planning to ensure that the military gains are matched with political progress.