War in Southern Somalia:Kenya’s military says integration with AMISOM won’t affect current war
Laaska news Dec. 17, 2011 War in Southern Somalia.
“the troops would target Afgoye”, a town near Mogadishu and home to thousands of displaced people, as well as” the ports of Merka and Barawe on the southern coast” -Oguna
NAIROBI, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) — Kenya’s military said on Saturday the integration of its forces with the Africa Union Peace keeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops will not affect its war against the Al-Shabaab militia.
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Operations Commander, Colonel Cyrus Oguna told journalists in Nairobithat the re-hatting of the KDF will not take away the right of Kenya to defend itself and will pursue the insurgent group whenever necessary.
“When faced with aggression even after integrating with AMISOM, our troops will go and deal with it and come back,” Oguna told journalists at the weekly press briefing in Nairobi.
Kenya’s Parliament has already endorsed the government’s decision to allow the Kenya Defense Forces to join AMISOM as part of the pan African body’s strategy to combat Al- Shabaab.
Oguna said the KDF, which launched ground and air strikes across southern Somalia in mid October, will carry out its military operation deeper into rebel-held territory of Afgoye.
He said “the troops would target Afgoye”, a town near Mogadishu and home to thousands of displaced people, as well as” the ports of Merka and Barawe on the southern coast”.
The development to join AMISOM follows the unanimous vote in Parliament two weeks ago. Kenya is joining the force at the invitation of the African Union.
Oguna said KDF troops registered major gains in the past week where they inflicted major damage to Al-Shabaab following six engagements with the outfit last Tuesday in Gabra Garso and two attacks at Afmadow Airstrip where their command structure was destroyed.
Linsay Kiptenes, the deputy director in charge of the Horn of Africa Region at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressed Kenya’ s concern at the events of last week where over 280 members of the Somali Parliament removed the speaker at a time the Transitional Federal Government is enjoying unprecedented good will from the international community.
“This action, coming only eight months away from the end of the transition period next August will affect the Road Map and every effort must be made to curb such incidents. The whole world has rallied behind the people of Somalia and they should therefore not fight amongst themselves lest they played into the hands of the enemy.”
Kipteness said Kenya will participate at an African Union meeting next Monday where the re-hatting of the Kenyan troops to AMISOM will be extensively discussed so as to make the operation an AU/UN issue by seeking for endorsement from the United Nation’ sSecurity Council so as not to make the Kenyan troops appear like an occupation force.
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