, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 30 – Kenya plans to lodge a strong appeal to the African Union to help salvage the lawless state of Somalia from the humanitarian catastrophe occasioned by increased fighting.
President Mwai Kibaki leaves for Sirte, Libya to attend the 13th Assembly of African Union Heads of State and Government and has indicated that he would be petitioning African leaders to assist the Horn of Africa country whose security has deteriorated in the recent past following attacks from the Al Shabaab militia.
“The President is also expected to urge the AU to step up efforts to stop acts of aggression against the legitimate government of Somalia by armed groups opposed to it and save the country from sliding into total anarchy,” a statement from the Presidential Press Service said.
Kenya has played a key role in the Somali peace process leading to major achievements including the signing, in Nairobi, of the Transitional Charter which provided the legal framework for forming the Transitional Federal Parliament and Government of Somalia on 29th January 2004.
The President has also, on several occasions and in different fora, expressed his personal and Kenya’s commitment to a lasting solution to the Somali conflict. While receiving the 2003 Annual Gandhi-King award for Non-Violence in October of that year, President Kibaki pledged Kenya’s continued support for the search for peace in Somalia within the framework of IGAD, the African Union and the United Nations.
Addressing the 13th Extra-Ordinary Summit of the IGAD Heads of State and Government in Nairobi in October last year, President Kibaki reaffirmed Kenya’s commitment to the realization of a stable and peaceful Somalia, and called on the United Nations to honour its mandate of maintenance of international peace and security in Somalia which urgently requires a strong peace-keeping force.
The President also underlined Kenya’s support to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1814 and 1816 that authorise the use of force against piracy off the Somali coastline. Acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Indian Ocean have a negative effect on the entire maritime transport and undermine commerce and industry not only in the East African region but Africa as a whole.
The Al Shabaab militia has this month assassinated the Internal Security Minister, police commander and a former Ambassador to Ethiopia as it increased its control of the war torn country. Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula remained adamant that Kenya would do everything possible to secure its territorial borders.
More than 122,000 people have since been displaced, bringing the total number of war refugees in the country to 1.3 million, according to UN figures.
The militias have rejected the Transitional Federal Government installed by a UN-brokered peace process last year. The government forces have been battling with the hard-line islamists but the insurgents seems to be getting an upper hand.
Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp located in Northern Kenya is bursting at the seams with Somali refugees. Although it was built for a capacity of 90,000 it now shelters 280,000.
The theme of the 13th Ordinary Session of the African Union Heads of State and Government is “Investing in agriculture for economic growth and food security.”