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Somalia’s president, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, on Monday said he and the people of Somalia were opposed to Kenya’s military operations aimed at eliminating al-Shabaab.
“It is a good thing to destroy these militants ... but we cannot accept military intervention which the Somali government is not aware of,” he said as he toured Daynile, where AU and TFG troops fought fierce battles to remove al-Shabaab from its last Mogadishu stronghold.
“We have requested the Kenya government to assist us in the fighting against the extremists and train the forces of the TFG, so we thank them, but we cannot accept the military intervention in Somalia.”
Only after Kenya sent its forces in to pursue al-Shabaab, which it blames for the recent spate of kidnapping of foreigners, did a delegation go to Mogadishu and secure an agreement with the Somali government to work together.
Kenyan forces, fighting alongside the TFG, have taken the strategic coastal district of Ras Kamboni, and are aiming to take the al-Shabaab strongholds of Afmadow and Kismayo, aiming to choke off the port taxes which help fund the group.
The statement, aside from causing a bit of embarrassment, is unlikely to have any effect on Kenya's plans.
Kenya is sick of decades of instability seeping across its borders, and is keen to create a buffer zone, hence its support for the Azania/Jubaland initiative, which is an attempt to create a semi-autonomous state from Gedo, Middle Juba and Lower Juba.
It is possible that Sheikh Sharif is concerned about these plans, which would essentially see a Kenyan-backed president carve off a large chunk of territory from the TFG, and could cause problems with local militia who feel the system is being imposed upon them from outside.
Somali MP Supports Kenya
Meanwhile Somalia's parliamentary security committee deputy chairman, Hussein Arale Addan, defended the recent decision of Kenya to attack al-Shabaab bases in Somalia, especially southern regions.
The deputy chairman explained to Somalia Report that the Kenya government has never tried to invade Somalia, and said the fighting against al-Shabaab in Juba regions is part of a larger offensive to destroy the insurgents.
“I’m calling all my friends in the parliament to look deeply at the military support of Kenya and the AU. We have a good chance to control our country with getting help from friends,” he said.
ASWJ Supports Kenya
Meanwhile the Sufi pro-government Ahlu Sunna Waljama (ASWJ) militia proclaimed on Monday that they will help Kenyan forces in their fight against al-shabaab in Juba, Gedo and Bay regions.
Sheikh Mohamed Hussein Al Qaadi, ASWJ spokesman in Gedo region, told Somalia Report that they welcome Kenya's operation in Somalia.
“Our role is to help any system or group that stands to kill al-Shabaab and we will continue our efforts in the region,” vowed Al Qaadi.