Kenya, Somalia Plea for Help Battling al-Shabab

Posted October 31st, 2011 at 11:35 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Kenya and Somalia have called for more international help to defeat al-Shabab, the al-Qaida-linked militant group which the neighboring countries have described as “a common enemy.”

After meeting in Nairobi on Monday, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his Somali counterpart Abdiwelli Mohammed Ali called for more troops to join the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

In a joint statement, they also requested “logistical and financial support” for a planned blockade of the port city of Kismayo, a key al-Shabab stronghold and supply center.

The AU mission currently consists of 9,500 troops based in and around the capital, Mogadishu, where they are providing support for the Somali transitional government.

Djibouti has pledged another 3,000 troops for the mission.

Separately, an international humanitarian group says an airstrike that hit a camp for internally displaced people in southern Somalia has killed five people and wounded more than 40 others.

Doctors Without Borders said late Sunday the bombing in the town of Jilib killed mostly women and children.

The aid group did not comment on who carried out the strike and called on all parties to respect the rights of civilians.

Local officials said the strike targeted an area where al-Shabab militants were distributing food to displaced persons.

Kenya has claimed to have bombed militant positions in southern Somalia in recent days.

Kenya sent an undisclosed number of troops across the border earlier this month to fight al-Shabab, which it blames for a series of kidnapping of foreigners on Kenyan soil.