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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid