|DP William Ruto (right) and Somalia PM Abdiwali Mohamed during a media briefing in Nairobi Wednesday on peace and economic progress in Somalia. [Photo: Mbugua Kibera/Standard]|
By Felix Olick
Nairobi, Kenya: Kenya and the Somalia governments have renewed their commitment to eliminate the Al Shabaab militants and other terror gangs from the region.
In a meeting between Deputy President William Ruto and Somalia Prime Minister Abdiwali Mohamed, during which Nairobi promised to set up an embassy in Mogadishu, Mr Ruto maintained that the fight against terrorism does not need any ‘justification, explanation or apology’.
“We have underscored the commitment of the Federal Government of Somalia and that of the Republic of Kenya to the fight against Al Shabaab and all manner of terrorism in our region,” said Ruto.
“We have agreed that we shall expedite the setting up of an embassy in Mogadishu by June this year, as a demonstration of brotherhood that exists between our two countries,” he added.
The Somalia PM said they are determined to wipe up the militia by the end of this year but admitted that Al Shabaab still control significant parts of Somalia.
“We want to have Al Shabaab out by the end of 2014. Even if they are not wiped completely, there should be no distinct area controlled by the group,” he told journalists.
Kenya launched an offensive operation against the militia in Somalia codenamed ‘Operation Linda Nchi’ in October 2011, following a series of kidnappings by the gang.
Following the invasion, Kenya has been hit by a wave of terrorism attacks including the bloody Westgate Mall where 67 people lost their lives.
The Somalia PM said normalcy is slowly returning to Kismayu and that there is an influx of people from the diaspora to the port city.
“First, we have to improve security. We have to silence the explosions. Once that is done, investors would be attracted,” he said exuding confidence that the country would stabilise.
Ruto noted that the Tripartite Agreement on the repatriation of Somalia refugees is still on course and will take approximately two years.
The DP refuted claims that it was still not secure enough to kick-start the return of the refugees insisting that ‘home is best’.
He said between 80,000-100,000 have voluntarily left the sprawling Dadaab camp for their country.