Israel to help Kenya man porous border

March 15, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 15 – Israel has now pledged to help Kenya police its border with Somalia in the wake of renewed Al Shabaab threats.

The country\’s Minister for Public Security Yitzhak Aharonovich met Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Tuesday in Nairobi and pledged "much more support on the war against terrorism."

"Israel also pledged to foster closer collaboration with Kenya in fighting terrorism," a statement from the Prime Minister\’s office said.

"Kenya remains a critical ally of the state of Israel and its stability is important to Israel," it added.

Two weeks ago, Al Shabaab militia men engaged troops of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia in an intense war that killed dozens of the fighters from both sides.

At least two people were also killed at the border town of Mandera where dozens of civilians were also wounded.

Military Spokesman Bogita Ongeri has assured that the border is safe following massive deployments of forces there.

During the Tuesday meeting with the Israeli Minister, Mr Odinga called for support in monitoring the extensive and porous border with Somalia, saying it has been a source of great stress to the country.

"Kenya cannot cope with the legal and illegal immigrants entering the country from Ethiopia and the refugee camps cannot take any more people," the Prime Minister said at the meeting with the Israeli ambassador.

He said instability in Somalia has lately become a problem in the high seas where piracy has made Kenya a risky and expensive sea route and called for cooperation in fighting piracy.

Mr Aharonovich is in the country as part of his first trip to Africa.

The two leaders discussed developments in the Arab nations that border Israel, with Mr Odinga expressing hope that the changes would usher in a period of democracy in the Middle East and the Arab world.

Mr Odinga expressed hope that democratization would ensure peace and stability in the region where Israel is currently the only nation pursuing democratic principles.

On his part, Mr Aharonovich said Israel is keenly watching developments in the Arab world.

He said the developments in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, among other countries are both welcome and worrying to Israel.

"There is uncertainty about how all these developments will end," the minister said.

He also warned that the developments could usher in democracy or create more instability that could be exploited by extremist groups to perpetuate terrorism.

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