Business, Finance & Economics

Eritrea denies arming Shabaab, again


A hardline Islamist fighter aims a heavy machine gun toward government forces in Mogadishu, Somalia, on July 3, 2009.


Mohamed Dahir

Eritrea has been forced to deny that it was behind the delivery of three plane loads of weapons to Al Shabaab that Kenya’s military said have landed at airstrips in southern Somalia in recent days.

It is not the first time that Eritrea, long regarded as a regional spoiler in the Horn of Africa motivated by extreme antipathy towards Ethiopia, has been accused of backing the Shabaab.

Kenya’s military has vowed to destroy the arms caches .

Military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir has taken to issuing statements on his newly-minted Twitter feed.

One recent post was used to warn civilians in 10 towns in southern Somalia that they face imminent attack and should get out of the way.

He later clarified that Kenya’s air force would not be bombing civilians, as it was accused of doing at the weekend, but nevertheless the threat has reportedly sparked panic in the named towns.