Somalia President calls Uhuru, offers support in fight against al Shabaab

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President Uhuru Kenyatta with Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, during his inauguration ceremony in Mogadishu in 2017. /FILE

Somalia President Mohamed Farmaajo has said his government is ready to cooperate with Kenya to eliminate terrorism.

“I spoke on the phone with [President] Uhuru [Kenyatta] this morning. We stand by Kenya at this difficult time,” he said via Twitter on Thursday.

“The government of Somalia is always ready to cooperate with our neighbours in all efforts to stop, eliminate and defeat the evil of terrorism.”

Farmaajo condemned the Dusit terrorist attack which claimed 21 lives, adding that Somalia’s thoughts and prayers are with the government and the People of Kenya.

“Kenya is an important ally and a brotherly neighbour. Such heinous acts only serve to embolden our joint quest to vanquish terror,” he said.

Al Shabaab, a Somalia-based al Qaeda affiliate fighting to impose strict Islamic law, said it carried out the assault on DusitD2 over US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Kenya became a frequent target for al Shabaab after Kenya sent troops into Somalia in 2011 to try to create a buffer zone along its border.

While it appears al Shabaab’s main targets in the borderland regions are security agencies and non-local Kenyans, Kenyans and Somalis also suffer as targets of recruitment, who are used as guides and foot soldiers.

The proximity to Somalia also contributes to al Shabaab’s menace along the Kenyan border.

The absence of a stable government in Somalia provides a safe haven where al Shabaab plan, strategise and attack Kenyan security personnel who are either on patrol along the border or are on a local humanitarian mission.

The hostility between some clans at the border region continually provides a safe haven for al Shabaab. Furthermore, the hostility provides hiding places for al Shabaab attackers, especially across the border in Somalia.

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