Kenya rules out force in Migingo

March 12, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 12 – The Kenyan military said on Thursday that it would not respond with force over the external aggression pitting the country against Uganda in the now controversial Migingo Island in Lake Victoria.

Kenya’s Chief of General Staff Jeremiah Kianga said the issue is not so serious as to demand military intervention.

“This is not a defence issue and that is why we have not given it any response,” he told journalists during a meeting at the Defence headquarters in Nairobi.

General Kianga said that the Kenyan Military had earned its ‘good reputation’ by restraining itself from responding with force to every issue.

“People are judged by how they respond to issues. You can not go on responding to every small issue with an AK-47, that is not what we do here,” he said.

Uganda has declared the Migingo Island as part of their territory and even deployed forces there to guard it.

Lately, Kenyan fishermen and traders living there have been asked to pay some levies to the Ugandan authorities, deepening the controversy even further.

Some Administration Police officers were last month detained by Ugandan security forces when they reportedly tried to hoist a Kenyan flag on the Island.

And even with the recent deployment of soldiers from Uganda, General Kianga vowed on Thursday that he would not retaliate.

“That is not our tradition. It is for Kenya to make a decision on where we should be as a country. If you are a country that responds with an AK-47 to every small issue, you don’t send a message of being a democratic country,” he said.

Local Administrators in Nyanza Province have often maintained that the Island belongs to Kenya.

A formal meeting between representatives of the two countries to try and resolve the issue is yet to take place.

Meanwhile, the CGS said the Kenyan military does not intend to respond with force to the reported threats from the Somalia’s Al Shabaab militiamen, following recent reports of discontent from the militias.

The Islamist group has in the recent past complained of interference by Kenyan authorities on their internal matters.

“We don’t even know what interference they are talking about because this is an organisation inside Somalia. Our presence is not in Somalia at all and we don’t even intend to have our presence there,” he said.


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