, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 4 – An American Senator now wants NATO to deploy its military might to the horn of Africa and join the Kenyan-led offensive against Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab terrorists.
Illinois Senator Mirk Kirk told a Senate session that the international community must assist Kenya’s offensive against the Al Shabaab militia in Somalia as the success of the operation will significantly weaken the ability of the group to plan and execute acts of terrorism.
“The success of the Kenyan operation would mean a significant weakening of Al-Shabaab’s ability to plan and execute terrorist attacks and would greatly contribute to regional stability.
“Al Shabaab poses a grave threat to Kenya’s safety and security. Since 2009, Al-Shabaab conducted at least 10 attacks on Kenya’s soil and territorial seas or along the Somalia-Kenya border.”
He said that the Al Shabaab, if not dealt with, will spread its membership to many countries across the world including the US itself and aiding Al Qaeda in attacks on the US interests.
“Al-Shabaab also poses a direct threat to the United States by actively radicalising and recruiting American citizens,” he said.
In October suicide bomber Abdisalan Hussein Ali, a 22-year-old American citizen and a member of the Al Shabaab attacked an African Union (AU) base in Mogadishu, killing 10 more.
“Al Shabaab has the intent and capability to conduct attacks or aid core Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen with striking US interests and the US homeland,” he further said.
Kenya’s Chief of Defence Forces General Julius Karangi has vowed that the mission in Somalia is not time bound and that Kenyan troops will remain in Somalia until the common border with Somalia is secured from the threats of the Al Shabaab.
Karangi said: “We shall leave it to the people of this country to decide that yes, we feel safe enough on the common border and then we shall come back.”
Kenyan troops have been in Somalia for nearly three weeks in an operation following the invoking of Article 51 of the UN Chapter that pronounces self defence as an inherent right and which is also in keeping with the Kenyan Constitution to defend its citizens.
NATO’s triumphant, seven-month air campaign against Libya ended late last month, setting the country on the path to a transition less than two weeks after the capture and killing of Dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
In the past seven months, NATO warplanes flew 26,000 sorties, including more than 9,600 strike missions, destroying more than 1,000 tanks, vehicles, and guns.