The British Government has endorsed Kenya’s military action in Somalia to weed out the al Shabaab. New British High Commissioner Dr Peter Tibber yesterday said his government backs Kenya’s action to the extent that it respects human rights.
Speaking a day after arriving in the country when he met Speaker Kenneth Marende, Dr Tibber said: “What Kenya is doing is very good…We know Kenya and other countries in the region are getting it right.” Dr Tibber said it is the common duty of the international community to deal with the Somalia problem and his government will assist Kenya to achieve this goal.
He said the British Government is directly affected by the instability in Somalia when its citizens cannot move freely in Kenya because of kidnappings by criminals linked to the al Shabaab.
Dr Tibber said one method of ending terrorism, piracy, international crime and drug trafficking is to cure the instability in Somalia. “We have shared interest in Somalia . . . its instability is a growing issue as far as terrorism, piracy, drug trafficking and international crime is concerned.”
He said Kenya has taken the right steps to secure its borders to ensure the insecurity issue does not affect tourism. Dr Tibber hailed the reforms Kenya has undertaken especially in Parliament since the new constitution came into effect.
However, he said there are issues regarding implementation. The High Commissioner is concerned about the raging debate over the next general election date and said Kenya should resolve the issue quickly to end anxiety.
Meanwhile, a human rights organisation in Mombasa has demanded the interdiction of the army officers involved in the shooting of the seven fishermen in Lamu. The seven were mistaken to be al Shabaab militias from Somalia and were shot by the army officers who were on patrol in Kiunga area, Lamu, near the Somalia border.
In a letter to the Chief of Defence Forces Gen Julius Karangi yesterday, Muslims for Human Rights terms the shooting as excessive use of force by the army officers involved in the “Operation Linda Nchi”. “We demand the immediate interdiction of the officers involved in the incident. Refusing to stop cannot be used as the excuse to shoot the innocent fishermen,” said Muhuri executive director Hussein Khalid.
Muhuri further termed the incident an extrajudicial killing by the army officers. “The media reported that the men didn’t pose any security threats to the officers. We want to stand by this in our quest for their interdiction and justice for the family members,” Khalid said. Muhuri however backed the operation by the government to flush out the al Shabaab insurgents in the country.