News / Africa

E. African Nations Back Kenyan Offensive in Somalia

African Union peacekeepers are seen in the Deynile district of the capital Mogadishu, Somalia, October 20, 2011.
African Union peacekeepers are seen in the Deynile district of the capital Mogadishu, Somalia, October 20, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio

The six-nation east African regional group the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has pledged full support for Kenya's military offensive against al-Qaeda linked militants in southern Somalia. Other countries in the region are considering joining the effort as the militants appear to be losing their grip on the famine-stricken Somali countryside.

IGAD held an extraordinary ministerial level meeting Friday, five days after Kenya launched an offensive against al-Shabab.  More than two battalions of Kenyan troops backed by air power streamed into southern Somalia after Shabab rebels were blamed for a series of kidnappings of foreign tourists and aid workers.

A communiqué issued after the brief meeting in the Ethiopian capital welcomes Kenya's move to scale up security operations.

Amid reports that Kenyan troops are advancing on the strategic rebel held port of Kismayo, Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula appealed for international support for ending al-Shabab's stranglehold on Somalia.

"We as a region have called upon the international community to support implementation of previous decisions to impose no fly zones in al-Shabab dominated areas and a blockade of the port of Kismayo," said Wetangula.

Wetangula declined to speculate on how long it might take to subdue al-Shabab. Reminded that Ethiopia had sent troops to Somalia in 2006 in a failed attempt to dislodge the rebels, the minister suggested Kenyan troops would stay as long as it takes to get the job done.

"Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, IGAD countries want peace yesterday," added Wetangula.  "Not even today, so whatever timeline we are looking at is a question of an emergency. We must get rid of this problem as quickly as is practically possible so people can concentrate on human development activities and economic activities. The sooner the better."

Ethiopia's deputy prime minister and foreign minister Hailemariam Dessalegn said his country is considering joining the military campaign. He said it was "high time" for a regional response to al-Shabab's provocations.

"The long term goal is to eradicate al Shabab from Somalia and this is the proper time and the process shows al-Shabab is coming to an end," said Hailemariam.

Somalia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hamid Ali Masheye reported that government troops backed by African Union AMISOM peacekeepers have been making steady progress in driving the last of al-Shabab remnants out of the capital, Mogadishu. The rebels retreated last month after controlling most of the city for three years.

Masheye said a furious offensive Thursday had succeeded in clearing the last al-Shabab held neighborhood in the capital.

"They are now being defeated in Mogadishu," noted Masheye.  "The Somali National army, getting support from AMISOM, is driving them from Mogadishu. Last night there was a big fight in Mogadishu, and the Somali National Army and AMISOM troops drove them out of their last stronghold in Mogadishu."

Masheye and others confirmed that 10 AMISOM fighters had been killed in the latest clashes. They ridiculed as propaganda rebel claims that 70 peacekeepers had died.

Uganda and Burundi have approximately 9,000 troops serving in the AMISOM force.  AU officials are working on plans to increase the number of peacekeepers to 12,000 by the end of the year.

You May Like

Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursionsi
X
Zlatica Hoke
August 28, 2014 4:07 AM
Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursions

Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid