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Somalia PM vows to 'finish' mall attackers

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

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Somalia's prime minister says Kenyan troops will remain in his country, despite the demands of militants behind the Nairobi shopping mall siege.

Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon has vowed that his government will "finish" the Shabab militants behind Nairobi's deadly four-day mall siege.

Promising the killers will be brought to justice, Farah Shirdon also insists his government will not bow to their demands for Kenyan troops to be withdrawn from Somalia.

He says the two countries will continue co-operating in the fight against terror groups.

Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab fighters stormed the upmarket Westgate mall on Saturday, leaving at least 61 civilians and six members of the security forces dead.

The Islamists said the attack was in retaliation for the presence of Kenyan troops in their country.

Kenya invaded southern Somalia to attack Shabab bases two years ago, joining forces with a Somali militia warlord and wresting the key port of Kismayo from the extremists.

The troops later joined the 17,700-strong African Union force (AMISOM) deployed in Somalia.

Farah Shirdon says Somalia has no problem with the presence of Kenyan troops on its soil, adding the two countries share common security concerns.

"We have no problem with our Kenyan brothers," the Somali premier told France 24 television.

"They are in Somalia at request of Somalia, they are part of AMISOM and we are co-operating in the fight against al-Shabab.

"In the name of government we have invited Kenya and we are co-operating against terror. We have common enemies and we will continue co-operating as long as there is terror in our land."

Farah Shirdon said he was confident the Shabab would be eliminated as a threat, with the help of the international community.

"Al-Shabab is not only a problem for Somalia, they are a problem for the region, and to the international community," he said.

"We are suffering on the same blood.

"But I am happy that we will contain them and they will not be a problem in the near future, inshallah.

"We have over 17,000 AMISOM troops in Somalia and ... with the help of our own people and the international community, I am confident that we will finish Shabab."

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