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Friday, September 17, 2010

Al-Shabaab a threat to East African countries

The worsening security situation in Somalia poses a direct threat to Kenya, Foreign minister Moses Wetang'ula has told the United Nations Security Council.
The al-Shabaab insurgents, who in the past threatened to attack Nairobi, have nearly toppled Somalia's Transitional Federal Government, Mr Wetang'ula said in a speech to the UN body Thursday.
The Islamist militants are expanding their control in south-central Somalia and in Mogadishu, the UN's special envoy for Somalia, Augustine Mihaga, said during the session.
If al- Shabaab were to seize power, Mr Wetang'ula added, it would attempt to destroy all non-Muslims in Somalia.
The rag-tag outfit has also spread terror to other parts of the East African region. It was responsible for the twin blasts that exploded across the Uganda capital during the 2010 World Cup final match in July, killing 76 football fans. Several suspects have been arrested and arraigned in court.
Wetangula said failure to restore stability to Somalia after 20 years of lawlessness serves as a source of “collective shame.”.
African Union troops are all that prevents the Islamist militants from overrunning the country, he said.
He told the Council that the AU force in Somalia should be increased to 22,000 troops from its authorised strength of 8,100.
There are currently about 6,000 soldiers deployed in Somalia under the AU, most of them from Uganda.
Initiatives aimed at countering the Shabaab threat have increased in recent months, causing concern in East Africa about a lack of coordination and commitment, Mr Wetang'ula said.
He urged the Security Council to enforce Somalia-related decisions made by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad).
Specifically, Mr Wetang'ula said, the UN should impose targeted sanctions against airfields and ports under al-Shabaab's control.

Source: East African


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