Home > POLITICS, SOMALI NEWS, TFG Somalia > War in Southern Somalia:Kenya’s Parliament goes into closed session to discuss on the military operation in Somalia. + More Related News

War in Southern Somalia:Kenya’s Parliament goes into closed session to discuss on the military operation in Somalia. + More Related News

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Laaska News Oct. 19,2011               Kenya Media

 House goes into closed session to discuss Shabaab
Govt to weed out Shabaab sympathisers in Nairobi swoop
Cabinet backs offensive against al-Shabaab

Wetangula tells of close shave from al Shabaab bomb

Defence minister Yusuf Haji (left) and his Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetangula (right) during a news conference at the Wilson Airport October 19, 2011.Mr Wetangula said the Kenya delegation to Somalia narrowly escaped a bomb attack in the capital Mogadishu that killed five people after changing their travel plans at the last minute. JENNIFER MUIRURI
By PETER LEFTIE
Wednesday, October 19  2011

Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetangula has said the Kenya delegation to Somalia narrowly escaped a bomb attack in the capital Mogadishu that killed five people after changing their travel plans at the last minute.

Mr Wetangula and his Defence counterpart Yusuf Haji travelled to Somalia Tuesday for talks with the Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed in Mogadishu over the Kenya military offensive against the al Shabaab.

“There was an explosion on the route we were to use to the airport but we changed our travel plans at the last minute,” Mr Wetangula said.

He, however, downplayed questions as to whether the attack was targeted at his delegation, jokingly stating; “As you can see, we are here in one piece.”

Mr Wetangula also revealed that Kenya had secured the backing of the African Union and Ethiopia in its efforts to wipe out the al Shabaab militants.

In a two day diplomatic offensive, a high powered government delegation led by Mr Wetangula held talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the AU chairman, Jean Ping on the ongoing efforts by the military to uproot the Al Shabaab from their strongholds inside Somalia territory.

Speaking at the Wilson Airport on arrival from Ethiopia Wednesday, Mr Wetangula said both the AU and the Ethiopian government had offered Kenya their “unequivocal support” in its military offensive against the militants.

The Prime Minister gave Ethiopia’s unequivocal support for Kenya’s efforts to eliminate this (Al Shabaab) menace.  He said that any threat to Kenya’s security is a threat to the horn of Africa and urged us to use everything at our disposal to eliminate the menace,” said Mr Wetangula.

“We also had a special message for the chairman of the African Union, Dr Ping from our president. We briefed him on the events on the Kenya-Somalia border and Dr Ping was in full support of what we are doing to deal with the security threat,” the minister added.

Kenya considers Ethiopia a crucial ally in the war against the al Shabaab in the region given its strategic location, bordering Somalia on the western side. In 2006, Ethiopia launched a similar offensive in Somalia but registered little success.

The support of the AU in the military offensive is also crucial given the role it continues to play in sustaining the TFG’s hold to power through the deployment of forces from Uganda and Burundi to fight alongside government forces in eliminating the threat posed by the al Shabaab.

Mr Wetangula maintained that Kenya had not invaded Somalia in pursuit of the militants but that rather, it had only responded to Mogadishu’s request for support in wiping out the al Shabaab.

“The Jubaland issue is not a Kenyan issue. It is Somalia protecting itself and asking Kenya to help. It is Somalia securing its borders so the issue of invading Somalia does not arise,” he said.

“We have not invaded Somalia. We are only giving back-up to the TFG soldiers whom we have trained here in Kenya,” Mr Haji said.

Nation.

House goes into closed session to discuss Shabaab

Kenya’s Parliament has for the first time in recent history gone into a private session to deliberate on the military operation in Somalia October 19, 2011

By JOHN NGIRACHU
Wednesday, October 19  2011

Kenya’s Parliament has gone into a private session to deliberate on the military operation in Somalia.

MPs unanimously voted to have all strangers- anybody that is not one of them- withdraw from the chambers at 3.55 pm to receive a statement on the security situation on the Kenya-Somalia border.

The presentation of the statement by Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the subsequent questions by MPs was deemed sensitive enough to warrant locking out the public.

This also meant that the live transmission of proceedings was interrupted.

The proposal to hold the session in camera was made by Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale, and it was unanimously approved when Speaker Kenneth Marende posed the question.

Members of the public and the media are normally locked out of committee meetings where sensitive matters are discussed but this is the first time the meetings in the chamber have been held in camera.

It is however provided for in the Standing Orders- the rules under which the affairs of Parliament are managed.

The relevant Article 214 says: If at any sitting of the House or in a Committee of the whole House any Member shall move that strangers be ordered to withdraw, the Speaker or the Chairperson shall forthwith put the question, no amendment, adjournment or debate being allowed and upon such question being resolved in the affirmative, all strangers shall be ordered to withdraw from the Chamber.

Nation.
Govt to weed out Shabaab sympathisers in Nairobi swoop


Internal Security assistant minister Orwa Ojode has said the ongoing operation by the army in Somalia will be followed by a major swoop on estates in Nairobi where the government suspects sympathisers of the al Shabaab and Al Qaeda reside October 19, 2011. FILE

By JOHN NGIRACHU
Wednesday, October 19  2011

The ongoing operation by the army in Somalia will be followed by a major swoop on estates in Nairobi where the government suspects sympathisers of the al Shabaab and Al Qaeda reside.

Internal Security assistant minister Orwa Ojodeh told Parliament Wednesday morning this swoop will be “the mother of all operations in Nairobi”.

Mr Ojodeh made the statement as MPs from North Eastern Province criticised the security checks on flights to and from the area, which they said amount to harassment and discrimination.

“This (the al Shabaab issue) is like a big animal, with the tail in Somalia, and the head of the animal is hidden here in Eastleigh,” said the tough-talking assistant minister.

“After the Somalia thing is over, I am going to do a mother of all operations here in Nairobi to remove all al Shabaab and Al Qaeda,” said Mr Ojodeh as he asked MPs to support the decision.

Buffer zone

The Kenyan army has driven into parts of Somalia over the past one week, where it hopes to establish a buffer zone to prevent the militia from entering the country.

He said the government expects “there will be some discomfort for one or two weeks” over the operation, but Nairobians would eventually be happier after the process ends.

But Mandera East MP Mohamed Hussein Ali and Adan Keynan of Wajir West lamented that the security checks on the flights were misused and unnecessary because the passengers are Kenyans.

“As much as we also support the security measures, this is a matter of harassment which also borders on corruption,” said Mr Hussein, who said he has not been subjected to the same treatment on flights to other parts of Kenya.

Toll stations

Mr Keynan alleged that the policemen who carry out the security checks have turned them into toll stations.

He said while moving a motion on a report by the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee on the Kenyan embassy in Somalia that criminals are exploiting the problem in Somalia for a profit.

He said the problem is compounded by corruption within the security forces and the underfunding that makes it impossible for them to acquire the necessary equipment and vehicles to prevent the incursions.

Mr Keynan said that while MPs from the region endorse the action on the al Shabaab, the Government should not do anything that will amount to discrimination against one community.

The problems at the border with Somalia are complicated by the fact that the community straddles both countries and the language, culture and religion is shared.

Nominated MP Mohammed Affey said while those flying in from Somalia, who make stops in Wajir, should be checked, it is unfair to lump Kenyans with them when the flights land in Nairobi.

Dujis MP Aden Duale said the security checks infringe on Kenyans’ freedom of movement.

“As much as we allow the Government and this minister to act on al Shabaab, we will not allow harassment and discrimination,” said Mr Duale.

But Mr Ojodeh said the restrictions on chartered flights to North Eastern Province would remain, and passengers would require to produce identity cards on passports even on domestic flights.

All buses and matatus plying the routes between Nairobi and North Eastern, Upper Eastern and upper Rift Valley would have all the passengers vetted.

“I am within the law to protect him (the MP) and to protect his property. It is in the same Constitution that he must go to Wajir and return to Nairobi alive,” said Mr Ojodeh.

Cabinet backs offensive against al-Shabaab


President Kibaki chairs a past cabinet meeting. Cabinet supported the actions of the Kenya military in Somalia October 18, 2011. FILE

By NATION Reporter and PPS
Tuesday, October 18  2011

Cabinet has supported the actions of the Kenya military to battle Somalia militia al-Shabaab Tuesday.

It also condoled the family of five military personnel, who died in a helicopter crash at Liboi on Sunday.

“The Cabinet that met today (Tuesday) at State House, Nairobi, also supported and commended the actions taken by members of the Kenya Defence Forces and other security forces in the offensive against the Al-Shabaab,” said a statement from the Presidential Press Service.

Cabinet also assured the military of its and Kenyans’ support as they “as they undertook the important duty of securing the Kenyan nation”.

The Cabinet also noted that the five soldiers “had lost their lives in the line of duty, undertaking the noble duty of defending the nation” and prayed to God to give their family strength.

The meeting was held on the day when Kenya sent Foreign minister Moses Wetangula and his Defence counterpart Yusuf Haji to the Somalia capital Mogadishu to brief President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed on the country’s military engagement in the war torn nation.

At the same time, the Cabinet directed Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo to launch a public drive to educate Kenyans on a Bill seeking to amend the 2012 polls date.

The directive came after it approved the tabling in Parliament of an “improved version of the Constitution Amendment Bill 2011”.

Nation.

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Kenya’s cabinet backs Al shabaab offensive

Kenya, Somalia seal pact to hit Shabaab

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