News / Africa

Kenya Military Asks Aid Agencies to Return to Somalia's South

Kenyan Army soldiers in a military parade at Nyayo National Stadium during celebrations of Heroes Day, in Nairobi, Kenya, October 20, 2011 (file photo).
Kenyan Army soldiers in a military parade at Nyayo National Stadium during celebrations of Heroes Day, in Nairobi, Kenya, October 20, 2011 (file photo).

Multimedia

Audio
Gabe Joselow

The Kenyan military says it has secured more areas of southern Somalia and is urging aid agencies to come back to the country to help those in need.  Kenya's Foreign Ministry says it is also trying to win international approval for African Union forces to join the fight.

The Kenyan military says it has driven al-Shabab fighters out of parts of southern Somalia in a series of raids over the last week.

Colonel Cyrus Oguna, a spokesperson for the Kenyan Defense Forces says a total of 31 al-Shabab militants have been killed in the recent clashes, and that the military is now in control of the town of Kolbio, which he described as a major al-Shabab stronghold.

He said two Kenyan soldiers were killed during the operations, along with three Somali government soldiers.

Colonel Oguna said Kenyan forces have been able to make headway against al-Shabab due to support and intelligence from local Somali communities.

"Yes indeed, pockets of Shabab still exist, no doubt about that," said Oguna.  "But the encouraging thing is that the local people are coming out to point out where these bases are and that has really paid us a lot of dividends in the sense that after being told where the bases are, our soldiers or our troops can go out there, raid, and take over those areas."

Kenyan forces entered Somalia more than a month ago in pursuit of al-Shabab militants blamed for a spate of cross-border kidnappings.

Oguna said another aspect of the operation is to provide humanitarian assistance to people in areas previously held by al-Shabab.

"But as we move forward, ladies and gentleman, we need somebody to feed the people that we have liberated," Oguna added.  "So we are asking members of the international community to come in with the relief food to come and help these people, because they are free, but they are hungry."

Aid agencies operating in Somalia have been critical of the Kenyan intervention, saying that it has impeded their work.

Oxfam, an international aid organization, this week said it has had to suspend a program providing seeds and cash assistance to some 85,000 people in southern Somalia because of the operation.

The presidents of Kenya, Uganda and Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) met in Nairobi this week to pledge greater cooperation in Somalia.

Ethiopian officials also have said they will consider contributing forces to the operation.

Kenyan Foreign Affairs Assistant Director Lindsay Kiptiness said Kenya would welcome support from anyone.

"Of course, again, Ethiopia is a sovereign state and they have a right to make their own decision so whether they are going in or not.  That is their own decision however, we will - we are ready, or rather, we encourage support from every corner if the intention is to defeat al-Shabab and return normalcy to Somalia," said Kiptiness.

Al-Shabab repelled an invasion of Ethiopian forces in the last decade and analysts say the presence of foreign troops on the ground in Somalia could help bolster support for the militant group.

Kiptiness said the major organization of Horn of Africa nations known as IGAD will meet at the end of the month to discuss efforts to expand the role of African Union forces in Somalia (AMISOM), which are currently limited to a peacekeeping mission in Mogadishu.

He said the hope is to have a decision by January that will allow the force, known as AMISOM, to also provide support for the Kenyan operation in southern Somalia.

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs