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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid