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BBC News – Israel-Kenya deal to help fight Somalias al-Shabab

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Israel-Kenya deal to help fight Somalia’s al-Shabab             + Relalted Articles

Israel has offered to help Kenya secure its borders as it tackles Somalias Islamist group, al-Shabab, the Kenyan prime ministers office has said.

It said Kenya got the backing of Israel to “rid its territory of fundamentalist elements” during Prime Minister Raila Odingas visit to the country.

Kenya's Raila Odinga and Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu have promised to strengthen ties - PHOTO:BBC

Last month, Kenya sent troops to neighbouring Somalia to defeat al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda.

It blames the militants for a spate of abductions on its side of the border.

In a statement, Mr Odinga’s office quotes Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as saying that “Kenya’s enemies are Israel’s enemies”.

“We have similar forces planning to bring us down,” he is is quoted as saying. “I see it as an opportunity to strengthen ties.”

At least 15 people were killed in a suicide bombing on an Israeli-owned hotel in the Kenyan coastal resort of Mombasa in 2002.

Four years earlier, more than 200 people were killed in co-ordinated bomb blasts on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Al-Qaeda carried out the attacks, with some of its senior members operating from Somalia.

‘Regional coalition’
 
Mr Odinga – who is accompanied on the visit by Internal Security Minister George Saitoti – said Israel could help Kenya’s police force detect and destroy al-Shabab’s networks in Kenya.

Consistently, Kenya has shown a very positive attitude towards Israel and Israel is ready to help

                                                       Shimon Peres
                                                        Israel’s president

Kenya also needed Israel to provide vehicles for border patrols and equipment for sea surveillance to curb piracy off the East African coast, he said.

“We need to be able to convincingly ensure homeland security,” Mr Odinga said.

The statement quoted Mr Netanyahu as promising to help build a “coalition against fundamentalism” in East Africa, incorporating Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Tanzania.

Israel’s President Shimon Peres had promised to “make everything available” to Kenya to guarantee its security within its borders, the statement said.

“Consistently, Kenya has shown a very positive attitude towards Israel and Israel is ready to help,” the statement quotes Mr Peres saying.

Kenya accuses al-Shabab of abducting several people from its territory since September – including an elderly French woman who suffered from cancer. French authorities say she has since died in Somalia.

Al-Shabab denies involvement in the abductions and has vowed to retaliate against Kenya for sending troops into Somalia. It has accused the Kenyan army of killing civilians.

Last month, a Kenyan man, Elgiva Bwire Oliacha, told a court in Nairobi that he was an al-Shabab member.

He pleaded guilty to carrying out grenade attacks on a nightclub and bus stop in the city, leaving one person dead and 29 others wounded.

Somalia has been without an effective government since 1991, with al-Shabab controlling most of the southern and central regions.

via BBC News – Israel-Kenya deal to help fight Somalias al-Shabab.

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Israel to help Kenya secure its borders         – KBC News

Written By:PMPS,    Posted: Mon, Nov 14, 2011

 
 
The PM arrived in Israel on Friday (file) 
Kenya got the backing of the top leadership of the State of Israel in its war on Al Shabaab with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring they will help Kenya in its struggles to secure its borders.

The two countries will later today (Monday) sign a memorandum of understanding for cooperation on matters of homeland security.

At separate meetings in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his delegation which includes Internal Security minister George Saitoti, the two Israeli leaders emphasized that Kenya is a critical ally whose stability means a lot to Israel and Africa.

Prime Minister Netanyahu accepted Mr. Odinga’s invitation to visit Kenya early in 2012 as a statement of Israel’s readiness to stand with Kenya.

Mr. Netanyahu went further, and promised to help build “a coalition against fundamentalism” that brings together like-minded regional states including Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Tanzania saying the more nations acting together, the better.

Mr. Netanyahu expressed concern that threats from militants threaten Kenya’s tourism, adding that Kenya’s frustration with fundamentalists is similar to Israel’s and the two countries must stand together.

Kenya Borders

Earlier on Sunday, President Peres pledged to give Kenya all the support it needs to ensure security within its borders and protect its citizens and economy from the threats posed by criminals.

At a meeting with Prime Minister Odinga in Jerusalem on Sunday, the Israeli President also said Israel is ready to make “everything available to Kenya” for internal security and food production.

Both the Israeli leaders and Mr. Odinga agreed that Kenya and Israel have had a long history of friendship and supporting one another in times of need.

Mr. Odinga who arrived in Israel on Friday began a series of official engagements on Sunday with a meeting with President Peres before meeting Mr. Netanyahu early Monday.

Talking about the ties between Kenya and Israel, Mr. Odinga singled out the Israeli rescue mission that rushed into Nairobi soon after the 1998 terrorist attack on US embassy.

That Israeli mission helped pull people out of the rubble, Mr. Odinga said, adding the death toll would have been higher had the Israelis not rushed in.

President Peres said he has had personal ties with a number of independence Kenyan leaders, among them Jomo Kenyatta, Tom Mboya and Oginga Odinga adding that Kenya has assisted Israel in a number of its internal security challenges and would be willing to work with Kenya.

“Kenya has stood on the side of Israel at its hour of need. Consistently, Kenya has shown a very positive attitude towards Israel and Israel is ready to help,” the President said.

High seas

At the same time, Mr. Netanyahu called on the international community to rally to Kenya’s side, saying patrolling the high seas is in the interest of all nations, not just Kenya’s.

“Kenya’s enemies are Israel’s enemies so we should be able to help. We have similar forces planning to bring us down. I see it as an opportunity to strengthen our ties,” Mr. Netanyahu said.

Mr. Odinga put a strong case for cooperation between Israel and Kenya on security matters. The PM particularly sought help for Kenya’s internal security challenges.

He said Kenya is dealing with a new kind of threat within the nation’s borders.

He said the new kind of criminals that plant explosives inside the country is a new development on which the country needed backing to fight back.

That threat he said called for more advanced and improved security measures, including more surveillance and capacity of Kenya Police to preempt criminals instead of pursuing them after the act.

Mr. Odinga also cited the recruitment of youths in the country into the ranks of Al Shabaab as a threat Kenya has to deal with urgently.

Mr. Odinga said Kenya Israel could help Kenya Police build the capacity to be able to detect militants, know what kind of arms they have and preempt and destroy the networks that recruit youths and kill inside the country.

The internal security threats, combined with the piracy in the Indian Ocean, posed a big threat to Kenya’s economy, particularly tourism and needed to be dealt with urgently.

He appealed for vehicles for border patrol and equipment for sea surveillance.

“We need to be able to convincingly ensure homeland security. Only that will ensure tourists keep coming, our people can go on with their lives as they have always and we don’t lose people who have no reason to die,” Mr. Odinga said.

Mr. Odinga also appealed for more assistance with irrigated agriculture particularly in northern Kenya and other arid parts of the country as a way of converting pastoralists to more sedentary life, a proposal to two Israeli leaders promised to support.

President Peres said Israel’s support for Kenya’s agriculture began soon after independence, recalling that over the years, Israel worked closely with founding leaders including Bruce McKenzie, Charles Njonjo, Mboya and President Kenyatta.

The two leaders also discussed the overall security situation in the Horn of Africa and developments in the two Sudans.

Mr. Odinga, together with Prof George Saitoti and Water Minister Charity Ngilu will witness the signing of the MoU on internal security cooperation then hold further talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Avigdor Liberman, Speaker of Knesset Reuven Rivlin and Opposition leader Tzipi Livni. The PM will also attend a  Plenary Session of the Knesset.
  KBC News