Somali President wants Kenya troops out

Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. FILE | AFRICA REVIEW 

President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has maintained his opposition to the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia.

During a meeting held Thursday at Villa Somalia, the State House in Mogadishu, President Sharif repeated that Kenya was wrong in sending troops into Somalia.

The Head of State hinted that Nairobi's action amounted to a breach of Somalia’s sovereignty.

President Sharif issued the statement following his meeting with Cabinet members.

Somalia’s Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali agreed with the President, dismissing any reports to the contrary.

On Monday, President Sharif stated that Kenya was required to limit its assistance to Somalia to training the government forces and provision of logistical support.

Somalia’s Defence minister –cum-Deputy Prime Minister Hussein Arab Issa, read out an agreement reached with Kenya, when Nairobi ministers visited Mogadishu recently.

Mr Issa stated: “The Somali Government and the Kenyan ministers only agreed to tackle the fighting against Al-Shabaab jointly by Kenya supporting the Somali forces.”   

The Somali minister on October 18 hosted his Kenyan counterparts, Moses Wetang'ula (Foreign) and Yusuf Haji (Defence) in Mogadishu.

Meanwhile, a number of Somali legislators held a meeting in Mogadishu Wednesday to discuss the issue of the Kenyan troops in Somalis, reportedly in hot pursuit of Al-Shabaab militants.

A combined force

Mr Mohamed Ibrahim Habsade (MP) stated that Kenyan forces coming into Somalia was consistent with Somali people’s desire to have Al-Shabaab’s menace eliminated.

He added that Kenya was defending the honour of the Somali people that have been humiliated by Al-Shabaab as well as its integrity.

“Our parliament had endorsed resolutions in the past seeking help from Somalia’s neighbours in order to stabilise the country,” said Mr Habsade. “And that is what Kenya is doing.”

But another MP, Mr Yasin Mohamed Bu’ul, agreed with President Sharif that the Kenyan troops were trespassing in breach of Somalia’s sovereignty.

In Nairobi, Kenya asked the Somalia Government to clarify its position on the military operation against the Al-Shabaab.

“The Kenya Government is seeking clarification of the Somalia Government’s position, as it is essential to have a unified approach in dealing with the destabilisation of Somalia by Al-Shabaab,” Internal Security minister George Saitoti said.

Prof Saitoti spoke as the Kenyan forces captured one more town on Monday in their pursuit of the Al-Shabaab militants in Southern Somalia.

The Kenya military and a local militia group, Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaaca (ASWJ), which is on the side of the Kenyan forces, confirmed that the town of Busar had been captured from the Al-Shabaab.

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