Archive for October 27, 2011

AFRICA: Kenya’s Somalia Incursion

Future Quagmire?

Kenya’s leaders may have committed a strategic blunder by sending troops into neighboring Somalia to eliminate the threat of militant Islamists, some experts say.

Map courtesy of University of Pennsylvania African Studies Center

Diplomats, former officials and analysts cited in the New York Times say the Kenyan military may not be up to the job that has stymied the United Nations, the United States, Ethiopia the African Union over the last two decades. They also caution that the incursion by hundreds of the East African nation’s troops, assisted by artillery bombardments and air raids is becoming bogged down as seasonal rains turn Somalia’s dirt roads to mud.

Questions about Kenya’s exit strategy have been raised. There is also the threat of reprisal attacks in Kenya by the al Shabab terrorist group and the effect they could have on Kenya’s economy – especially tourism.

Kenya citied recent attacks and kidnappings of European tourists and aid workers as the main reason for the Oct. 12 cross-border invasion. But a spokesman for the government appeared to contradict that Thursday, indicating that Kenya had been planning action against al-Shabab inside Somalia for months, according to the Associated Press. Alfred Mutua said the goal of the Kenyan military operation is to destroy the al-Qaida-linked militant group, within the shortest time possible.

Meanwhile, the Kenyan military says nine al-Shabab fighters were killed and four Kenyan troops wounded Thursday (Oct. 27) in an al-Shabab attack. The group’s leaders have called for attacks inside Kenya. One person was killed and more than 20 wounded in two separate grenade attacks in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, on Monday (Oct. 24.) A Kenyan man arrested for the attacks told a court he was a member of al-Shabab.

Another grenade and machine gun attack Thursday (Oct. 27) on a civilian vehicle near the Kenyan-Somali border left eight people dead, Britain’s The Guardian  reported.

October 27, 2011 at 5:39 pm 1 comment


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