NAIROBI (Somalilandpress) — Somalia’s president wants thousands of troops trained in Kenya to be deployed to Mogadishu for an upcoming offensive against Islamist militants, but Kenya has denied the request — yet another complication for a military campaign that has already been delayed several times, officials said Tuesday.
The fact that Kenya could veto Somali wishes for the deployment of its own troops underscores that the Kenyan government wields power in the neighboring country, which has a weak, U.N.-backed government.
In a March 21 letter that The Associated Press obtained a copy of, Somali President Sharif Sheik Ahmed asked Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki for Kenya’s support for a plan to transfer control of 2,500 Somali troops trained in Kenya over the last several months to the current defense minister.
That would mean the troops would be moved from the Somali-Kenya border to the Somali capital, Mogadishu, large parts of which are controlled by al-Shabab, a militant group linked to al-Qaida.
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Kenya’s president rejected the plan based on fears that if the troops are sent to Mogadishu, Kenya’s porous frontier with Somalia would be vulnerable to cross-border incursions, said a Somali government official who spoke on condition he not be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua declined to comment.
“Kibaki respects Somalia’s president and his government, but when it comes to national security, Kenya’s interest comes first,” said Abdullahi Hassan, a political analyst and lecturer at Nairobi’s Kenyatta University.
It was not known if the issue would cause further delays to an offensive aimed at restoring Somali government control to large parts of Somalia and hitting a radical movement that has imposed harsh justice, including stonings and amputations, and stoked terrorism fears in the Horn of Africa and beyond. The offensive has been pushed back repeatedly, in part because of a lack of military resources.
Kenya mediated a two-year peace process that led to the formation of Somalia’s fragile government and hosts hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees. Leaders of Somalia’s government have regularly consulted with their Kenyan counterparts. Some of the troops trained in Kenya were rumored to be Kenyan nationals of Somali origin.
“The whole training exercise was a Kenyan-led initiative that involved elements within the Somali government. It was part of Kenya’s overall military containment strategy against al-Shabab and it does not want to lose control of that process despite its support for the Somali government,” said Rashid Abdi of the International Crisis Group.
For more than five months, Kenya has been training more than 2,500 Somali troops on its soil. The initial plan was for them to be deployed to the border to eliminate threats posed by al-Shabab, said clan elder Sheik Ali Gure, who helped recruit the troops from three Somali regions near Kenya. Al-Shabab controls large swaths of southern and central Somalia.
A U.N. Monitoring Group report this month found that the Somali military is dominated by a command structure based on clan loyalties. The dustup between Kenya and Somalia over troop deployment underscores those clan arrangements.
Gure warned that if the Kenyan-trained troops were transferred to Mogadishu, Somali clans along the border could withdraw their support for the Somali government. The clans want the troops to stay in their regions to take on al-Shabab there.
Kenya has a large Somali population that inhabits the northeastern part of the country, and has over the years used local clans who straddle territories between the two countries to intervene when rebels groups try to cross the border.
Source: The Associated Press – 31st March 2010
"Kenya’s interest comes first" – I wish Somalis thought the same instead of begging foreign nations and people.
Its time our southern neighbors (Somalia) organised their own homes and understood that its best they stood on their own two feets than beg neighbors or cry after Somaliland otherwise this is the end of you. Cant even use your own militia. Sad.
……… "Kenya’s interest comes first"…………I wish Somalis thought the same instead of begging foreign nations and people. …………..
Wait a minute! But here we see Kenyans begging, recruiting and paying other people.
You telling the world Kenya interest is achieved by weakening Somalis.
One of your strategy is to make them fight each other indefinitely.
If there is any insecurity in your border with Somalia shoudn't you send Kenyan troops???
It is the tribal mentality you are expressing now what is wrong with Somalis. See yourself in the miorror first. You acting as if the problem in Somalia is not yours!!! on what ground? can you please explain?
What is wrong with you Somalis.
Can't you see the destructive role of these immediate neighbours of yours?? Worsening the situation by fuelling Sectarian conflict every now and then.
And now as if Kenya has no army they are training Somali soldiers to fight against their fellow Somalis inorder to keep their borders security. Making Somalis die for Kenya.
Wake up SOMALIS.
Those Somalis will never wake up, they are too busy chasing us and blocking us while the real enemies take advantage of them.
We will wait until Kenya calls "New Nairobi".
For now let them bark after Somaliland while Kenya takes care of business.
im sorry what? "bark after somliland" last time i checked the government of mogdisho didnt even pay the slightest attension to the hysterical outbursts of seccesionist whims of the northern inclave. not only that the entire world dosnt even know such a thing as somaliland exsist so plz dont act like the streets of hargeisa are paved with Gold, its paved with the same dirty clan Bullshit that is paved all throughout somalia so plz contain yourself saxib. and ps if kenya decides to form a "new Nairobi" in the konfur they'll come for woqoye galbeed to form their eastleigh 🙂
im sorry what? "chasing after somaliland"? saxib last time i checked the government in mogdisho didnt even spare a single thought for the hysterical outburst of the seccesionists. not only that but niether does the international comunity, perharps when somaliland has gained international recognition you can afford to talk big, but for the mean time i dont think you're in the position to look down on Somalia that has atleast recognition. ps; if kenya decides to form a "new Nairobi" in the konfur, they'll come for woqoye galbeed to form their eastleigh i assure u of that 🙂
how sad, the mighty somali race, which at one point was to be feared by all except allah thanks to allah,
Sheikh Shariif the eternal traveler spends more time in airplanes than in Mogadisho is the last person to beg for troops. He is the wrong man at the worng time for this job, but who is we Somalilanders to tell Somalis to get their act together. Carry on with business as usual.
precisely you're no one to tell somalia to "get their act together" seeing that your own president is inslaved by the ethiopians, comanded on a monthly basis to report back to addis ababa, looks like your presidents spends an equal amount of time on those dreaded airlines eh? but its nice to see that you atleast honest in your hatred and wish for the somalis down south to continue to butcher eacher, are you a kafir to speak so malliciously and desire for the demise of your own fellow muslims? it is well known that somalilanders are fiercly independant but are you also THAT hateful too?
How many of you know that there are Eritrean military and intelligence officers fighting alongside Al Shabab rag tag terrorists ….
with weapons, man power,political and millitry backing
arab leaguge check
african union check
it has been long time coming, the presidency is ours once again, but unlike 2004, nobody can stop us, we will redraw somali social, political and economic map
truly we are the kings of east africa till kingdom comeB)
somaliland good luck with your future baby, I better not get to xamar, because I will we cut your politics like we cut awdal from waqooyi galbeed;)