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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

UN to Take Action as Eritrea and Others Still Trafficking Arms to al Shabaab

The troops backed by TFG soldiers have now secured the towns of Qoqani, Tabda and Afmadow in Somalia.No casualties were reported on the Kenyan side and the port of Kismayu on Somalia’s coastline is the next clear target as terrorist group.
Kenya has accused Eritrea of being behind three planeloads of weapons delivered last month to Al Shabaab at Baidoa airport.
On Tuesday, President Kibaki welcomed the support Kenya has obtained from both its citizens and governments in the operation against the militants who seek to destabilise the region’s economies.

While opening the Regional Infrastructure Conference at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, Kibaki said: "As we embark on planning our infrastructure programmes, I wish to underscore the importance of peace and stability in our region."
Meanwhile, a police Toyota Land Cruiser escorting aid agency vehicles headed back to the UN complex in Dadaab reportedly hit a landmine on Tuesday along the road to Hagdera refugee camp, injuring two people.
North Eastern PPO Leo Nyongesa confirmed the incident. Last night President Kibaki worked late at his Harambee House offices discussing internal security matters with top departmental officials.
In July, the UN Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Monitoring Group cited what it called "credible information received from multiple sources" that said aircraft carrying arms, ammunition, equipment, militia commanders and wounded fighters on behalf of Al Shabaab landed in Baidoa, Baledogley and Kismayu from Eritrea.
The UN Group is already preparing a list of individuals and States targeted for sanctions.
In addition to Eritrean officials, the list is expected to include Mr Abdirahman Abdi "Salawat"; a Somali national who the UN says illegally obtained Kenyan identity cards and passports. It gives the numbers for Salawat’s Kenyan passports as A739601 and A183790 under the alias "Abdi Warsame Dirie".

He is accused of actively smuggling Somali emigrants to Europe since 2004, and acting as broker for Somalis who encounter "immigration difficulties in Kenya".

Illegal immigrants

Also named is Salawat’s alleged associate, a Mr Abdullahi Abdinur Mohamed ‘Topolino’ who it says held "a Sh350,000 a month lease agreement for a property on 10th Street, Eastleigh. This property, which subsequently came to be known as Top Ten Hotel (now called Gaman Hotel)."

The two are accused of facilitating the provision of forged Kenyan identity cards and passports to illegal Somali emigrants.

Eritrea has dismissed the claims against it as a "fabrication" and a ploy by its bitter rival Ethiopia to undermine its international standing.

But the Monitoring Group says it has evidence of Eritrea violating various Security Council resolutions. They include resolution 1844 of 2008 and1907 of 2009.

It says "the Government of Eritrea conceived, planned, organised and directed a failed plot to disrupt the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa by bombing civilian and governmental targets."
The UN also says Eritrea’s intelligence apparatus, which spearheaded the AU bombing plot, is also active in Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Uganda, making it a threat to those countries.

Sources for the UN include Eritrean military, intelligence and diplomatic officials who it says "retain active contacts within the Government of Eritrea and PFDJ, and in some cases were able to obtain information from serving Eritrean officials."

The UN Monitoring Group report says Al Shabaab in the past benefited from the fact that "the Transitional Federal Government security forces and their local allies continue to be little more than clan-based militias with loyalties to individual commanders and that look to Amisom rather than to the Government for leadership and support".

\Also targeted for sanctions are heads of indigenous networks engaged in recruitment, radicalisation and resource mobilisation on behalf of Al Shabaab in Kenya. It mentions the Muslim Youth Centre "commonly known as Pumwani Muslim Youth", which it accuses of actively recruiting for the insurgents.
The centre has since denied the allegations that it facilitated travel to Somalia for Kenyan youth recruited to train and fight for Al Shabaab.

The group also names several hotels in Nairobi as "safe houses" for illegal Somali emigrants with links to Salawat.

Best equipped

Reports also quote the African Union’s Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra as saying the entry into the conflict by the Kenya Defence Forces – arguably the best equipped and most disciplined military force in the region – offers the best chance yet in years of cutting of supply lines to Al Shabaab.
KDF has already cut off a key revenue stream of the insurgents by blocking smuggling routes for charcoal, electronics, and clothing across the Kenya-Somali border.

The Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea estimates that by July, Al Shabaab was generating between $70 million to $100 million per year in revenue from extortion and taxing traders in areas under its control.

"You see Al Shabaab is under pressure because Kenya is taking advantage of assets, helicopters, aircraft, and navy vessels. So clearly today, we have even the possibility to implement a no-fly zone, thanks to Kenya’s assets. So it is different," he said.

Six East African countries involved in fighting the insurgents have also appealed for more international support to assist the African Union Mission in Somalia, following a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Monday.
The meeting heard that Al Shabaab is in disarray following its ouster from 98 per cent of the capital Mogadishu, and the ongoing joint offensive by the Kenya Defence Forces and soldiers of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

The pledge to pursue sanctions against the insurgents and their allies came from the UN special envoy for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, who said a UN Security Council-appointed monitoring group will recommend broad sanctions against Al Shabaab and its allies that include freezing their assets as well as ban on travel and import of weapons.

The meeting involved the defence chiefs of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, and Burundi met at African Union headquarters.

Other sources quote UN Chief of Field Operations, Susana Malcorra who is in the region to assess conditions, as saying closer co-operation among countries that oppose Al Shabaab will be necessary to ensure defeat of the insurgents and restoration of peace in Somalia.

By Collins Kweyu in Tabda

The Rest @ The Standard (Kenya)

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