, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 12-The Kenya Defence Forces are urging the international community to provide more humanitarian support to Somali residents liberated from the Somalia based terror militia group, Al-Shabaab.
During a media briefing at the Foreign Affairs office on Saturday, Colonel Cyrus Oguna from the Department of Defence said the conditions in the country are deplorable.
Oguna said that military was currently engaged in pacification of the insurgents in areas that had already been liberated and providing an environment that is conducive for the provision of aid.
“Children here have not been to classrooms the only instruction they know is how to load an AK-47, how to pull the trigger and how to shoot. They do not want to be war machines, they need books not bullets,” he said.
Oguna said that a lot needs to be done to alleviate the sufferings of the people of Somalia and also educating the young children who are vulnerable to influence by Islamic militant groups.
Col Oguna said: “For long the people of Somalia have cried but the Al Shabaab could not let them to be heard, they are crying now with new hope to our military I hope that the international community will listen to them.”
“They are also crying out for food; they cannot do anything when they are malnourished and weak; they are sick, there are mothers who have not received any medical attention, it terrible” he added.
He said the military will move to cover more areas after satisfactorily carrying out pacification and aid operations which he said were necessary but consuming much of the military’s time.
The colonel said that the Al Shabaab was quickly changing tactics and using propaganda but reassured that the Kenya Defence Forces are well trained to fight with non conventional enemies.
He confirmed that the Kenya Defence Forces had so far lost five of its soldiers while the Al Shabaab casualties run into hundreds
Meanwhile, Kenya is still seeking more international support for the war against the Al Shabaab dubbed the Operation ‘Linda Nchi’.
Deputy Director at Foreign affairs division in charge of the Horn of Africa Lindsay Kipteness said that Kenya is amalgamating international support for operation Linda Nchi that has already received support from Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member states and the East African Community.
According to Kipteness, Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula is already in the Middle East to seek support from the Arab nations
On Friday, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi separately reaffirmed their backing of the war against the Somalia based terror militia group Al Shabaab.
Kipteness said that Kenya will also seek the authority of the United Nations Security Council to bolster operations of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to areas outside Mogadishu.
At the same time, he further said that sanctions against Eritrea would be enhanced once the UN Security Council deliberates on the matter and finds Eritrea guilty.
The president of Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh will lead an IGAD delegation to the UN meeting that is scheduled for Wednesday next week.
The Foreign Affairs Minister of Eritrea is also set to arrive in the country on Monday to state his country’s position on the support for the Al Shabaab as Kenya tries to win the support of one more local ally.
“Although the state of Eritrea had denied any giving support to Al Shabaab, we must be aware that Eritrea has a history of supporting groups in Somalia, it is not sufficient to deny these allegations; Eritrea should go ahead and denounce Al Shabaab activities. We are still engaging them to make sure that they are on our side in this operation,” said Kipteness.