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Kenya offers unrelenting support to newly formed Somalia government

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan government has vowed not to relent on its efforts to stabilize Somalia with the newly formed government now in place.

Foreign Affairs Minister Professor Sam Ongeri expressed Kenya’s commitment on the war on terrorism and called on the international community to support the continuing effort to restore peace in the war ravaged nation.

"Activities in Somalia will only return to normalcy when we support African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to liberate Kismayo from the arms of terrorists," Prof Ongeri said in a statement received on Tuesday.

The Kenyan minister who was in Mogadishu last week where he survived a suicide bomb attack said the Kenyan government welcomed the prospects of election of the president in Somalia which he said will bring for lasting peace and reconstruction of Somalia.

The minister who landed in the Somali capital with some Kenyan delegation including lawmakers described the election as a significant moment for the Horn of Africa nation.

Ongeri added that the East African nation is united with the international community in encouraging and pledging its support to the Somali government in the next phase of the political process and stabilization efforts.

On Sept.12, three suicide bombers dressed in Somali uniform attempted to enter the Jazeera Hotel, which reportedly also serves President Mohamoud’s temporary residence, while he was speaking to the media and meeting with Ongeri.

The insurgents were intercepted by security forces and were killed before they were able to enter the hotel.

A number of Somali security personnel were injured in the attack, and one soldier serving with the UN-backed African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) was killed and 3 more wounded.

Ongeri who later spoke in Nairobi with the UN Assistant Secretary-General in charge of the Department of Field Support Anthony Banbury said Kenya looks forward to the continued cooperation with Somalia in addressing matters of regional and international concern.

Ongeri however took the opportunity to put across Kenya’s request for support from the United Nation considering the cost Kenya has incurred while addressing the onslaught independently.

This comes after the intervention of the African union troops AMISOM in June.

While responding to Ongeri’s plea, Banbury recognized Kenya’s effort and assured the minister of his support and termed Kenya as a game-changer in the Somali peace restoration.

Banbury who was accompanied by a delegation from AMISOM lauded Kenya peace keeping efforts in Somalia and expressed his support to the ongoing AMISOM assignment in Kismayo.

"We have an obligation to support Kenya, in this noble cause of restoring peace in the war ravaged country," Branbury said.

The port town of Kismayo remains the last Al-Shabaab stronghold that AMISOM targets in order to liberate Somalia which has experienced a state of lawlessness for several decades now.

AMISOM last Friday captured a key town in southern Somalia used by Al-Shabaab in terms of movement.

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna said the KDF and Somali soldiers captured Bibi town and killed 3 militants as the match towards the capture of Kismayo intensify.

The capture of the town comes as AMISOM forces have been positioning themselves for possible take over of the strategic port of Kismayo as its troops were only less than 50 in Harbole which lies south of the strategic port town of Kismayo, often seen as the ultimate prize in the battle against the Al-Shabaab.

The Kismayo town has seen some of the most intensified battles since the deployment of the Kenyan troops in mid October 2011. Kenyan naval warships and helicopter gunships are shelling Al- Shabaab’s positions in the port city of Kismayo.


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