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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid