, GARISSA, Kenya Jul 2 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has ruled out pulling Kenyan troops from Somalia, saying it will be tantamount to surrendering to terrorism.
He made it clear that Kenyan troops will not leave Somalia until the country is liberated and pacified, noting Kenya will not be at peace until Somalia which has not known peace for two decades realizes peace.
“We want Somalia to be peaceful so that the 500,000 Somali refugees being hosted in Dadaab refugee camp can go back to their country to relieve Kenya of the burden of hosting them,” he said.
“Surrender is therefore not an option for us because if we leave Somalia, anarchy will set in which will spill over the borders.”
The PM was speaking in Garissa where he addressed Muslim and Christian religious leaders at a meeting called at the Provincial Commissioner’s office to find a lasting solution to frequent terror attacks on churches in the area.
The meeting was attended by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and acting Minister for internal security Mohammed Yusuf Haji.
Saying terrorism transcended religious, political or racial boundaries, Odinga asked Kenyans to rise up and join the security forces in fighting this vice which, he added, if not checked will snowball into a huge conflagration that can consume the entire region.
He said: “It is known that Al Shabaab recently joined Al Qaeda, and there is danger that the terrorist organizations could link up with other terrorist groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria to destabilize the whole African continent.”
Odinga who sent his condolences to the bereaved families assured them and Kenyans at large that the terrorists will be tracked down, arrested and punished.
Terming the terrorist attacks on churches as cowardly, the PM cautioned Kenyans against falling prey to the machinations of the terrorists whom, he said, wanted to incite religious animosity between Christians and Muslims.
The PM appealed for sobriety in the wake of the attacks, saying it was improper to abortion blame to any religious sect as that will be playing in the hands of the terrorists.
Muslim leaders who spoke at the meeting condemned the incident saying it had nothing to do with religion but an act of terrorism.
They pledged to team up with security forces and their Christian counterparts to protect churches from similar attacks in the future.