Kenya shifts focus to Eritrea in Shabaab war

November 4, 2011 2:06 pm


Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula/ File
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 4 – Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula says Eritrea could be sanctioned should it be found complicit in its support of the al Shabaab militia in Somalia.

Wetangula, who met on Friday with Eritrean ambassador to Kenya Beyene Russom, however pointed out that Kenya will strive to dialogue with the Eritrean government to hear their side of the story before it takes any action.

Eritrea had been accused of shipping heavy artillery and explosives to arm the Al Shabaab fighting the joint assault by Kenya and Somalia forces to destroy the militias’ strongholds in south Somalia.

“It is the IGAD and AU that is still pursuing the issue of enhanced sanctions in Eritrea. That does not however close doors to diplomatic engagement. At the end of the day we must engage everybody, more so a country that has seen it fit to have an embassy in our country,” the Minister said.

He explained that once the talks are complete, the way forward will be charted.

“I think it is only true and fair that you give the facts to them, hear them out and then the decision that we take thereafter, we leave it to another day,” he stated.

Kenya military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir had stated that two aircrafts landed in Baidoa with arms intended for Al Shabaab.

Chirchir did not name Eritrea as the source of the weapons but a Somalia MP Mahamud Abdullah Wehliye was quoted as accusing Eritrea of flying in weapons and explosives to Al Shabaab.

In his briefing statement, Chirchir cautioned Somalia residents against being used as conduits for the arms. He cited several areas in the region which were targeted for attack as they were Al Shabaab camps.

Addressing an Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) meeting last July, President Kibaki accused Eritrea of arming the Al Shabaab insurgents and asked the regional bloc to rein in Eritrea, which was destabilising regional peace through supplying arms to Somali militants.

Amisom has only 9,500 soldiers from Burundi and Uganda but at least 20,000 soldiers are needed to effectively carry out its mandate.


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