By CYRUS OMBATI
Somali government wants Kenya Defence Forces to leave Kismayo and the forces be replaced by a more neutral one.
This was after the KDF forces who are under Amisom apparently arrested a commander with the Somalia National Army (SNA) and involvement in violence.
“AMISOM Section Two forces purposefully arrested government appointed division 43 SNA commander, Col Abbas Ibrahim Gurey,” deputy minister for information Abdishakur Ali Mire said on Sunday.
A statement from the Prime Minister’s Media Office Mogadishu, Somalia said the government regretted the national loss of the three days fighting in Kismayo and called for the replacement of AMISOM Section Two forces to what the minister described “a more neutral African Union force.”
Mire claimed AMISOM Section Two forces supported one side of the two fighting functions in violation of their mandate.
“We are also informed that there was a targeted offensive against civilians and the SNA command centre in Kismayo by the AMISOM Section Two force, which is unfortunate.”
He demanded the establishment and the dispatch of a fact finding mission to assess the situation in Kismayo and called for immediate release of Col Abbas Ibrahim Gure to resume his military duty in the region.
He also called for humanitarian intervention to prevent crisis and assist the civilian victims in Kismayo.
Kenya has repeatedly denied it is supporting any section in Kismayo. Chief of Defence Forces Gen Julius Karangi downplayed claims the ongoing factional fighting in Kismayo may affect peace and stability in the country and region at large.
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Gen Karangi said last month the fighting there over power is normal and that the crisis will be solved soon.
He said Kenyan troops under Amisom as still in control of much of the affected areas and assured the country there will be no more insecurity.
“I want to assure Kenyans that the country is safe and that the small problem in Jubaland will be solved soon. Al-Shabaab is now weakened and they will never come back,” said Gen Karangi.
He added a group of leaders from Somalia central government and Jubaland are having talks to solve the differences.
He said Kenya was not involved in the election of Ahmed Mohamed Islam, best known as Ahmed Madobe, as the president of the regional state of Jubbaland on May 15.
Gen Karangi said the residents of the region held elections on their own and elected Madobe in accordance with their laws.
Gen Karangi said Kenyan troops who are under the Amisom still control large parts of the Jubbaland and in particular Kismayo.
Karangi was reacting to protests from leaders from Mogadishu who claim Kenyan military is imposing leadership in the region.
Gen Karangi said the troops control more than 300,000 square kilometers of the region and that they will leave the country after the African Union orders so.
A faction allied to Madobe has been fighting with another local leader who declared himself the regional president, which has left 20 people dead and property destroyed.
Karangi said the military in the area would remain neutral about the ongoing political process.
Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has indirectly criticised the Kenyan army for not treating well a government committee sent to Kismayo.