Kenya's prime minister says the government is not ready to say whether
the country's military will intervene in the conflict in neighboring
and other countries in the region are under intense pressure from the
Somali government to send troops into Somalia to keep Islamist
militants there from taking power.
with his Somali counterpart Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke in Nairobi
Monday, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga told reporters that his
government has not yet made a decision about sending Kenyan troops into
"The situation right now is
very crucial because the campaign is around Mogadishu itself. If
Mogadishu falls, the consequences would be very grave indeed," Mr. Odinga said. "We are
pledging our full support to the government. We are discussing this
issue and are going to make consultations. Announcements are going to
Prime Minister Odinga says
among the resolutions guiding the African Union and the six-member,
east African Intergovernmental Authority on Development, are rules that
restrict nations from interfering in the internal affairs of their
neighbors. Mr. Odinga suggested that a better solution for Somalia
would be for the international community as a whole to send immediate
The Kenyan leader's comments stopped
short of the commitment the U.N.-supported Somali government had hoped
to receive from one of its staunchest allies in the region. On
Saturday, the government made an extraordinary appeal, urging
neighboring countries - Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Yemen - to
militarily intervene in Somalia to keep the country from falling into
the hands of Islamic extremists allied with al-Qaida.
May, government and pro-government forces have been battling ferocious
insurgent attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere, led by al-Qaida-linked
al-Shabab. About 4,300 African Union peacekeeping troops are in the
capital protecting the presidential palace and key installations. But
they have no mandate to pursue the insurgents.
listed by the United States as a terrorist organization, has vowed to
topple the pro-western government and turn Somalia into an
ultra-conservative Islamic state. The Somali government says hundreds
of foreign fighters, battle-hardened in Iraq and Afghanistan, are now
pouring into the country to help al-Shabab.
al-Qaida-related terrorist attacks in 1998 and 2002. Anti-terrorism
officials here say one of the top commanders of the foreign fighters in
Somalia is Kenyan-born Ali Saleh Nabhan, who is believed to have been
involved in all successful and foiled attacks against Kenya in the past
On Sunday, the spokesman of the al-Shabab-run
administration in Kismayo in southern Somalia, Hassan Yaqub, warned
Kenya that if any Kenyan troop is found across the border in Somalia,
al-Shabab would send suicide bombers to attack the downtown area of
says the people in downtown Nairobi will meet the same fate as
Somalia's security minister Omar Hashi Aden, who was killed along with
dozens of others in a suicide blast last Thursday at a hotel in
Kenyan Prime Minister Odinga declined to comment on the al-Shabab threat.
has been no official response from Djibouti or Yemen about the Somali
request for troops. But Ethiopia says that it would only intervene
under a mandate from the international community. Ethiopia ended a
widely unpopular military occupation of Somalia in January under a
U.N.-sponsored peace deal signed in Djibouti.
several border towns in Somalia say Ethiopian troops are already back
in their villages, conducting security operations.