Lucas Barasa and Abdulkadir Khalif
31 October 2011
Kenya and Somalia want the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the leaders of Al-Shabaab for crimes against humanity.
Kenya also announced plans to go to the UN Security Council to seek support for an international naval blockade of Kismayu to starve Al-Shabaab of income.
They asked the international community to provide warships to patrol Kismayu, regarded as Al-Shabaab’s main source of income.
The leaders said the ICC should investigate individuals within Al-Shabaab over the terrorist attacks.
“The TFG will seek ICC assistance in beginning immediate investigations into crimes against humanity committed by individuals within the Al-Shabaab movement with the aim of seeking their indictment,” read the statement in part.
Some of the known leaders of the group include Sheikh Mukhtar Abdurahman Abu Zubayr (better known as Ahmed Godane), the Supreme Leader, Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Ali Abu Mansoor, the deputy leader, Sheikh FuÃ¡d Mohamed Khalaf, the propaganda chief, Sheikh Hussein Fidow, chief of political and regional affairs, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, former leader of the defunct Hizbu Islam, Sheikh Hassan Abdullahi Hersi alias Sheikh Hassan Turki, former deputy leader of the defunct Hizbu Islam and Sheikh Ali Mohamoud Raghe alias Sheikh Ali Dhere, the spokesman.
The Nairobi meeting was also attended by Defence Minister Yusuf Haji, Chief of General Staff Julius Karangi, National Security Intelligence Service chief Michael Gichangi, Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere, Foreign Affairs assistant minister Richard Onyonka and Kenya’s ambassador to Somalia Maj Gen (rtd) James Mulinge.
Mr Ali was in the country to clarify reports by Somalia President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed questioning Kenyan’s military intervention.
He said the TFG was united and that it supported the operation.
“I came with the blessing of the President. We will work with the Kenya government. There’s no discord,” Mr Ali said.
The join-statement said the security operation in Somalia was aimed at eliminating the threat posed by Al-Shabaab to Kenya’s national security and economic well being “and is based on the legitimate right to self-defence under article 51 of the UN Charter.”
The countries said the Al-Qaeda linked group was a common enemy for the region and the world.
“This threat must be fought jointly by the two nations with support from the international community,” it said.
The two countries also agreed that the Kenyan government shall not negotiate with Al-Shabaab, but the TFG is free to negotiate with all armed opposition groups.
Fielding questions from journalists, Mr Odinga said people in areas that had been liberated by Kenya’s Defence Forces were suffering and that the soldiers were sharing the little they had, including water and food, with them.
He appealed to the international community to intervene and provide humanitarian assistance, build schools and hospitals to restore normalcy in the area.
“We want to save the liberated Somali so that the country could join the East African Community in future,” Mr Odinga said.
He said it was cheaper to crush the terrorist group now than defer military action.
Mr Odinga added that Kenya had no imperial intention of occupying Somalia, but the operation against Al-Shabaab will continue until they are defeated.
He said Djibouti has offered to deploy more soldiers to bolster the African Union contingent in the country.
“The TFG and Kenyan forces have been highly welcomed by population in Somalia. They had not seen forces which are human like that,” he said, adding that more than 12,000 peacekeepers were needed to keep order.
He said the AU, Igad, the US, France, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda, among others, had backed Kenya’s operation and that the country will soon be seeking UN support.
Mr Odinga said Kenya does not support the secession of Southern Somalia and “all we want to see is a stable civilian government in Mogadishu.
“Somalia is a friendly country and we want to see it stable. The whole world wants peace in Somalia. It has taken long. Many have tried in vain but we can’t wait for a solution to come from heaven. We have to make our own efforts,” Mr Odinga said.
The PM said the country had cause to go to war across the border for the first time to protect itself and that it has the capacity to do so.
Mr Ali said Kenya and Somalia need a common strategy to fight terrorist groups and that they should have unity of purpose.
“We should work in tandem until we have eliminated Al-Shabaab from the Horn of Africa, Somalia and the face of the earth. This is a global problem,” Mr Ali said.
He said the operation would be led by TFG supported by Kenyan forces and that the liberated areas will be handed over to local administration and humanitarian services and other infrastructure provided.
Mr Ali said TFG was looking into reports that Kenyan forces had bombed civilians.