Nairobi, Kenya — Kenya's Defense Minister has been appointed acting Minister of Internal Security and Provincial affairs a position held by the late George Saitoti, Garowe Online reports.
Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki appointed Minister of Defense Yussuf Mohamed Haji as acting Minister of Internal Security on Monday, following the death of George Saitoti.
Former Minister Saitoti and his deputy Orwa Ojode died after their helicopter crashed in the outskirts of Nairobi. Minister Saitoti worked closely with Defense Minister Haji in their joint operation against Al Shabaab operating in Kenyan and southern Somalia.
As Defense Minister Haji has played an intricate role in the battle against Al Shabaab named Linda Nchi, Swahili for 'protect the country'. Earlier this month he signed an agreement integrating Kenyan troops in Somalia, into the African Union mission.
Minister Haji will hold both positions as Kenya's battle against Al Shabaab in Somalia intensifies.
Al Shabaab has threatened to commit attacks in Kenya if the government does not withdraw from Somalia, but the Kenya government insists with support that the Al Shabaab will be defeated in a final onslaught against Al Shabaab in southern Somalia, expected in August.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga told journalists last week, that military assistance was needed but financial support from the US and EU would suffice for now.
"If they can also bring military assistance so much the better, but for now we are talking about financial assistance," he said.
The Prime Minister also discussed Kenya's sluggish battle against Al Shabaab who remain in control of Kismayo, one of the last remaining strongholds for the terrorist organization.
"It has taken time because our forces felt that to move in [Kismayo] otherwise would have cost a lot of lives, both civilian and military."
Kenya has reverted to strikes on Kismayo from their warships and helicopters to weaken Al Shabaab's control on the port city.