A Somali Islamic group linked to al-Qaeda is threatening to
attack Kenya if Nairobi goes ahead with plans to train Somali government
forces. The spokesman for al-Shabaab is reportedly threatening that fighters of
the group would carry out intensive attacks inside Kenya if the Nairobi
government does not stop what he calls interference in Somalia. The threat
comes after Kenya's media reported that President Mwai Kibaki's government is
planning to help train nearly ten-thousand Somali government security forces.
States government calls al-Shabaab a terrorist organization having links with
al-Qaida and being involved in the 1998 bombing of US embassy in Kenya. From
Nairobi, former Somali presidential candidate Ali Abdullahi tells reporter
Peter Clottey that the terrorist group is exploiting the failure of the Somali
"Al-Shabaab is not all that
powerful in the sense of them attacking Kenya. Even they did not have the
strength militarily to face the current TFG (Transitional Federal Government)
and Ethiopian forces in Somalia and the African Union troops. What they use is
guerrilla warfare, and sometimes they also use methods and getting to
destabilize governments, and piracy is part of it," Abdullahi noted.
He said the terrorist group
is becoming stronger, while the Transitional Federal Government is weakening in
its mandate to protect the ordinary Somali.
"The threats from al-Shabaab
are not something that huge in current format, but what can happen is that with
the failed structure of government and the TFG, it is most likely that they
(al-Shabaab) may become powerful, considering that the average Somali needs the
government's protection. But so far, the government has not found any solutions
up to today. So this is the dilemma that we are facing in Somalia," he said.
Abdulahi said various groups
are fighting the transitional government under the guise of nationalism.
"Al-Shabaab and all these
elements, which have come up in challenging the Transitional Federal Government
and forces from Ethiopia, are of two types of oppositions. One type is
resistance, whereby people are resisting the so-called the occupation of
Ethiopian forces in Somalia. And this has an element of nationalism. This is
the biggest opposition in Somalia at the moment, which has not been picked up
by many analysts," Abdullahi pointed out.
He said there is a failure
of co-ordination between the various arms of government.
"Two things have happened
wrongly. There has been failure of the Transitional Federal Government
executive and parliament. And we need a restructuring of by IGAD (The
Intergovernmental Authority on Development) to make sure that we have
governance in Somalia that can work. There was supposed to be a federal
government for Somalia. But up to today, we have not seen any institutions,
which have been built up. The charter of 2004, which looks at having a federal
charter, has not been addressed," he said.
said there was need for the Somali government to empower ordinary Somalis.
"What you have to understand
is that even if you train Somali troops in Somalia, what you need is that
troops need to be empowered. And how do you empower troops? You've got to pay
them well. You've got to arm them well. And all these require financing. But I
have not seen any finances that have been channeled to the TFG," Abdullahi
He said the Somali
government has not been overly transparent in its financial dealings with the
international donor community.
"The international community
has a right not to channel money to the government because the executive
misuses the money which is given to them. One good example is that of the last
four years. The government has never brought its expenses with what they have
been doing with donor funds on the bilateral funds given to them. So the
question is that the international community cannot trust the executive of the
TFG," he said.
Muqtar Robow Abu Mansuur, who is the spokesman for al-Shabaab, has threatened
that fighters loyal to al-Shabaab would carry out attacks inside Kenya if the
southwestern neighbor does not stop "interfering in Somalia." He adds that the group would humiliate
Kenya, just like it has targeted Ethiopia, saying that its fighters would
defend Somalia in any way possible.