The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Raila Blasts the West Over Its Fear of Somalia

Photo: Stuart Price/UN Photo
A.U. Troops Kismayu.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga yesterday took a swipe at the international community saying it was reluctant to provide personnel to fight al Shabaab in Somalia and left the burden to Kenya and several other East African countries.

Raila told Parliament that the experience of 1990s made powerful nations refrain from sending troops to Somalia to liberate it from the al Shabaab group.

He said the work of fighting the Al Shabaab was left to Kenya and several other East Africa countries which have been fighting under the African Union Mission in Somalia banner.

Raila cited Uganda, Burundi, and Djibouti saying they sacrificed to liberate Somalia and also made Kenya's work easier. "After the experience of the 1990, the international community has been very reluctant to offer personnel to assist in Somalia," he said.

The PM was referring to failed America led Operation Restore Hope in the early 1990s that was halted after brutal killing of about 18 US soldiers in Somalia and dragging of their bodies through Mogadishu.

The subsequent United Nations Mission in Somalia was also halted after killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in the UN force. Raila further told Parliament that Kenya has no intention of occupying even an inch of Somalia.

The PM told MPs that the intention of Kenya was to liberate territories that were being controlled by the al-shabaab group. He said Kenya decided to use force in the neighbouring country after all other avenues of liberating Somalia failed.

He said President Kibaki, as the commander in chief of the KDF may visit the troops soon as a sign of appreciation and boost their morale further.

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