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Kenya seeks help for Kismayu onslaught

06-14-2012 02:47 BJT

Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga has asked the international community to help the African Union forces in Somalia to wrest the port of Kismayu from Al-Shabaab. Odinga asked for funds and troops for a "final onslaught" on the main stronghold of the Islamist militant group.

Mr. Odinga said liberating al-Shabaab's last bastion would entail a full throttle land air and sea operation. The prime minister said Kenyan forces would get to Kismayo by August But European union states that the request goes beyond their mandate, which was recently expanded to allow for land attacks against Somalia-based pirates.

Nairobi SOT African Union Soldiers, Ethiopian forces and Somali government troops have in recent months succeeded in driving al-Shabaab from several towns. Kenyan forces moved in Somalia last October and have been slowly moving towards Kismayu, which Mr. Odinga says without controlling it, its going to be very difficult to completely neutralize al-Shabaab.

Raila Odinga, Kenyan Prime Minister, said,"Our aim is to get to Kismayu by august, we have asked the EU to help us with the Atalanta forces that they have there, they are reluctant."

Between five and 10 warships, are deployed off the horn of Africa as part of the European union's Atalanta operation that was launched in 2008 to protect merchant vessels from Somali pirates.

However its mandate was expanded in march to include air-borne operations against pirate bases on the Somali coast, the US on the other hand had previously resisted providing funds until Kenyan forces joined the African Union force known as Amisom.

Johnnie Carson, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, said, 
"I anticipate we will continue to provide support to Amisom as long as shabaab poses a threat to Somalia and the region. If they can also bring military assistance so much the better, but for now we are talking about financial assistance."

The Kenyan contingent, which according to Nairobi numbers 4,631 soldiers, was officially integrated into amisom in early June.


Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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