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UK pledges support against terror

NAIROBI, October 27 – The United Kingdom has pledged to help Kenya tackle terrorism and piracy, which ‘are posing a serious threat to the region’.

British High Commissioner to Kenya Rob Macaire said on Monday that his country was increasingly concerned with the threat posed by terrorism and terrorists in the region and the world at large.

The newly posted envoy said his country would pump in resources to help Kenya fight the two vices and other forms of cross-border crimes.

“We do have a lot of common issues that we face together on the international agenda like threats of terrorism, transnational crimes and drugs,” he said after a meeting with top security chiefs and Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti.

“We also have strong interests in working with the Kenyan government to help strength the development of this country and this we will continue doing,” added Mr Macaire.

Professor Saitoti said the government had identified the UK as one of her partners in the war against terror because of existing cordial relations.

The Minister said the UK had greatly supported Kenya on many other aspects and expressed optimism that the new-found partnership on fighting terrorism would succeed.

“We have had cordial relationship with the UK, they have pledged to help us on this (terrorism war) and I am confident we will succeed. They will also help us fight piracy,” he said without elaborating on the exact kind of support expected.

Others present at the meeting were the Internal Security and Provincial Administration Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia and Police Commissioner Major General Mohammed Hussein Ali.

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Neither Professor Saitoti nor the High Commissioner was willing to answer questions from journalists.

“There is no need for questions at this time. This was just a courtesy call,” the British High Commissioner said as he walked out of the boardroom in Prof Saitoti’s Harambee House office.

A source who did not wish to be quoted discussing confidential security matters later told Capital News that the meeting had also discussed the hijacked Ukrainian ship that has remained in the hands of Somali pirates for a month.

The MV Faina carrying military weapons and ammunitions was destined to Kenya where the arsenal was to be offloaded and re-packaged for their actual destination in the Southern Sudan, although both governments have maintained they belong to Kenya.

It is understood that Monday’s meetings had resolved to have the UK carry out joint security patrols in the coastline to curb more cases of piracy.

“The Minister has been assured of adequate cooperation and support from the UK to ensure no more cases of piracy. The issue was discussed at length and the two have agreed to formulate means of curbing the menace. Kenya will definitely get support,” the source said.

According to Andrew Mwangura, the coordinator of the Seafarers Assistance Program, the pirates holding the Ukrainian ship were still waiting for the ransom to be paid before they release the hijacked ship.

“They are not willing to let go. That is the latest information I have. I do not know how far the negotiations have gone but the last time I spoke to them they still maintained they have to be paid,” he told Capital News on phone from Mombasa.

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