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Somali Diaspora support Kenyan troops mission in Somalia

BUSINESS
By | October 31st 2011
By | October 31st 2011
BUSINESS

By Chris Wamalwa in USA

Hundreds of Somali nationals living in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the US held a demonstration over the weekend in support of Kenyan troops that are currently deep inside Somalia hunting down Al Shabaab militia.

Kenya went to war against the militia two weeks ago with the intention of rooting out the group that has been associated with kidnappings within Kenyan boundaries, piracy and harsh Islamic laws.

Waving placards, some that bore the message "Shariff is double faced and Kenya is our good neighbor", the Somali nationals expressed their anger over the recent remarks by Somali President Sheikh Shariff that he was opposed to the presence of Kenyan troops inside his country.

"Kenya has welcomed us with open arms, sheltering us when we were refugees, we therefore cannot pay back that friendly gesture by refusing them to go after enemies who are constantly attacking their country, targeting tourists and setting off bombs to kill and inflict harm on their people", said Mohamed Omar Gange, a community leader while addressing the crowd on a chilly fall evening.

Somali Diaspora living in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the US held a demonstration on Saturday in support of Kenyan troops’ incursion in Somalia. Photo: Chris Wamalwa/Standard

Gange said Shariff does not represent the interests of all Somalis. He said the President knows very well that the safety of peace loving Somalis and even his own is at stake with the marauding Al Shabaab controlling big swaths of the country.

"He is being driven around in an armored Amisom tanks from the airport to the presidential palace for fear of being attacked by Al Shabaab but he is not ready to get help from a friendly neighbor who is ready to assist us crush this group" he added.

Speaking at the same event, Ugaas Mohamud Unshur said he had not expected President Shariif to say those words adding that the President should apologize to the Kenyan government for that diplomatic embarrassment. He urged President Sharrif to change tact and work with Kenyans to root out the Al Shabaab.

He appealed to Kenyan troops to remain in Somalia until they liberate the volatile southern part of the country and restore peace for innocent civilians who have never known peace under Al Shabaab occupation.

"Let us be honest with each other, Kenya has no intention of occupying our land. Kenya is only there to defend itself against foreign aggressors that have constantly attacked and taken hostages and aid workers thus threatening peace and the its tourism industry. Whoever does not support Kenyan troops that are on a mission to flush out these terrorists is an enemy of our people" Unshur added.

The apparent support of Kenyan incursion into Somalia by the Somali Diaspora especially those living in Minnesota is a game changer in because the Minnesota Somalis have been accused of being the source of Al Shabaab funding.

It is believed that some of the Minnesota Somali youth have been recruited and are fighting alongside Al Shabaab. In fact only last week, two Somali women were charged in Minneapolis court with fundraising money for the Al Shabaab and are waiting to be sentenced. The US government announced last year that it had charged 14 people as participants in "a deadly pipeline" to Somalia that routed money and fighters from the United States to the terrorist group Al-Shabaab.

At least seven of the 14 people charged were US citizens and 10, all from Minnesota, allegedly left the United States to join Al-Shabaab. Seven of the 10 had been charged previously in the probe.

Minnesota is home to about 70,000 Somalis who were resettled there after the collapse of President Siad Barre’s government in 1991. A group of young Somali men are believed to have left Minnesota to go and fight alongside the Union of Somali Courts in 2007 when Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia to help the transitional government of Abdullahi Yusuf.

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