NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 2 – Cabinet Minister Mutula Kilonzo says Al Shabaab commanders should be charged with war crimes by the International Criminal Court.
Speaking at a UN conference for volunteers on Monday, Kilonzo said the African Union forces (AMISOM) currently pursuing the islamist militia should be made to arrest Al Shabaab leaders, equating them to wanted Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony.
The Justice Minister was reacting to Sunday’s attack on two churches in Garissa where 17 Kenyans were killed and more than 40 others were wounded.
“At the conclusion of the engagement in Somalia, AMISOM should ensure that the leading characters in that country who are leading Al Shabaab be arrested and prosecuted for war crimes,” he said.
He equated the attrocities committed by Al Shabaab to those committed by Kony in Uganda and parts of Central Africa.
“You can’t just go and attack people in churches! The difference these people and what Kony is doing in Central Africa is very little indeed. The difference between what they have done and the former President in West Africa who is now in jail (Liberia’s Charles Taylor) is very little indeed,” he added.
“I plead with AMISOM to clean up Somalia as quickly as possible. This country has suffered a great deal helping to bring peace to the region.”
The Education Minister called on the international community to move with haste and help pacify Somalia in order to eradicate it of the Islamist Al Shabaab terror network.
“They need to look at what Boko Haram in Nigeria is doing and what Al Shabaab is doing in Kenya,” he said. “To attack innocent people in a church, mosque and temple is unforgivable. These are atrocities beyond national boundaries, beyond local laws,” he emphasised, while stressing on the need for The Hague-based court to intervene.
Wearing balaclavas, the Sunday attackers killed two armed police officers – posted outside churches following previous attacks – before bursting inside to target worshippers as they held prayer services.
Nigeria has suffered a string of almost weekly attacks on church services in recent months in which dozens of faithful have been killed.
Police said up to seven men had carried out the attacks which came two days after a gunman killed a Kenyan driver and abducted four foreign aid workers from the Dadaab refugee camp, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) to the northeast.
Last week a grenade blast in a bar in Kenya’s main port of Mombasa killed three people, a day after the US embassy warned of the threat of attack.