Kenyan authorities have deported a Somali businessman with alleged ties to secular politicians engaged in a conflict with the Islamic militia in Mogadishu. The deportation comes a day after the Kenyan government reportedly banned leaders of Somalia’s armed factions and their associates from entering the country. The government says the factional fighting was undermining the Somali transitional government and its efforts to restore peace to the region. The Chairman of Somali Relief and Rehabilitation, Mohammed Amin Osman, spoke with Voice of America English to Africa reporter James Butty about this latest development.
Osman said his organization welcomed the news. “Since 1991 after Somali government collapsed, warlords always are involved in conflict and creating lots of conflict in Somalia. They were based in Nairobi, or Addis Ababa, or United Arab Emirates. So this is I think is indication that Kenyan government stops warlords movement, and I think that can help peace for Somalia. I think actually this one is best decision the Kenyan government made and we are welcoming it.”
Osman describes Abdirashid Hussein Shire, the recently deported businessman, as a former civil servant under the Siad Barre government. He says he made money during the conflict and has now become one of the wealthiest men in Somalia. But Osman says because Shire supports the anti-Islamist he has connected himself to the warlords. He says deporting him helps the peace process in Somalia.
“Actually the Kenyan government supports the TFG, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia. And what we are expecting is that the Kenyan government and other countries are going to try to dialogue between religion groups, Islamist group and TFG.”
Osman says the Somali prime minister welcomes the willingness of the Islamist Sharia Courts to cooperate with the transitional government. He says the international community should encourage dialogue between the TFG and the Islamist group. Otherwise, he says the Somali situation could further deteriorate.
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