Business, Finance & Economics

Kenya seeks backing for Somalia invasion


Kenya has promised more troops for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), if asked. Ugandan soldiers serving in Somalia under AMISOM are pictured here in Mogadishu on Nov. 22, 2009.


Yasuyoshi Chiba

A month after sending troops into Somalia, Kenyan officials are busily trying to win retrospective support for their action.

In the US, Kenya is pushing for a naval blockade of the Shabaab-controlled port of Kismayo and for a no-fly zone. Both have been rejected before by the UN Security Council.

The prime minister has signed an anti-terror pact with Israel in recent days while the vice-president has sought European Union support during a visit to Cyprus. Today the foreign minister will be wooing the Arab League.

Meanwhile, in Nairobi the presidents of Kenya, Somalia and Uganda have held a mini-summit after which they called on the international community to support what they said was a “historic opportunity” to defeat the Shabaab.

President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed’s administration is kept in place by 9,700 African Union soldiers, most of whom are from Uganda with others contributed by Burundi.

Kenya now says that it is also willing to contribute troops to the AMISOM mission if asked.

It is unclear whether Kenya will be asked to contribute any soldiers, however, because promises of troops have already been made by Djibouti and Sierra Leone, whose forces are supposed to arrive before the end of the year taking AMISOM to its full mandated strength of 12,000.

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