Kenya not pirates dumping ground

January 28, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 28 – Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula says Kenya will not become a dumping ground for all captured pirates despite agreements with the US and UK to try captured buccaneers in Kenyan courts.

Mr Wetangula has told VOA that in practical situations, pirates captured on the Indian Ocean’s shipping line area can be tried in Kenyan courts, but this would be dealt with on a case by case basis.

"It is not an open door for dumping pirates onto Kenya soil because it will not be acceptable. We have a bill in parliament that is coming up and it is going to strengthen the punishment against piracy, from the current legal provision of 10 years in jail to life imprisonment," he said.

He said if enacted, the new law will provide some form of deterrence against piracy.

Mr Wetangula also praised U.S. President Barack Obama for his decision to close down the U.S. terrorist detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where a Kenyan, Abdulmalik Mohamed is among the detainees.

"I want take the opportunity to congratulate President Obama because the Guantanamo Bay saga has brought blood on the image of your country, and I think that he should do the same with Abu Ghraib (prison in Iraq). I don’t know if it is still open. You know the images from Abu Ghraib were horrendous. So we hope that the fresh air that is being felt all around and the feel good factor that President Obama has brought to the world stage will be sustainable so that we get a better world to live in," Mr Wetangula said.

The Minister also said Kenya, which has played host to a number of negotiations aimed at forming a government in Somalia said Kenya was still committed to bringing about peace in Somalia.

"The situation in Somalia is very volatile; Ethiopia has completely withdrawn; the U.N. is still dragging its feet in helping us put together troops for Somalia. We (the Inter-governmental Authority on Development, IGAD) in Addis from tomorrow (Friday) and the issue of Somalia will take center stage. Kenya like all other members of IGAD states is committed to bringing normalcy and peace and security to Somalia. It’s not easy. Somalia is a failed state for the last 20 years," Mr Wetangula said.


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