US: Why we rejected Kenya’s application to have Al-Shabaab blacklisted as terrorist?
NAIROBI, Kenya – It may take a little longer to have Al-Shabaab blacklisted as a terrorist group, despite Kenya’s frequent requests to the United Nations Security Council, the US has confirmed reports says.
The United Nations Security Council rejected Kenya’s request in August, throwing Nairobi to uncertainty after months of lobbying.
Both Somalia and the US vehemently opposed the request, despite Kenya insisting that the move would help vanquish the terrorist group which has literally made Somalia ungovernable.
On Monday, Kenya’s Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti told sleuths at Interpol Conference in Santiago, Chile that President Uhuru Kenyatta is determined to have the group blacklisted by the UN.
“Kenya continues to push for Al-Shabaab to be declared a terrorist organization,” Kinoti, who has been leading an internal war against terrorism said.
Al-Shabaab militants have been responsible for frequent explosions within East Africa, with Kenya and Somalia suffering many casualties.
In an interview with Kenya’s Daily Nation, US Ambassador Kyle McCarter said blacklisting Al-Shabaab under UN Resolution 1267 would bring about the humanitarian crisis in Somalia.
McCarter said it would be perilous to withdraw humanitarian aid as per Kenya’s request, adding that the US will continue supporting peacekeeping missions until Al-Shabaab is defeated.
“We formally designated al-Shabaab as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation over a decade ago in 2008. But we have not done it under UN Resolution 1267 the way Kenya wants, which would require us to withdraw humanitarian aid to Somalia,” said the envoy.
“We believe it is not humane to withdraw humanitarian aid in Somalia. But the US has put its people to support [Amisom] bid to defeat al-Shabaab,” added McCarter, who was appointed four months ago by Donald Trump.
Kenya will now have to stick to existing resolutions, with Nairobi keen to succeed in the fight against Al-Shabaab. The group has not only caused mayhem in Northern Frontier Districts, but also in the capital, Nairobi.
Since 2014, over 400 people have died from Al-Shabaab related attacks, with the onslaught at Garissa University in 2016 leaving over 157 people dead.
The most recent massive attack on civilians within Kenya was in January, where 21 people died at Dusit D2 Hotel. The security forces have not been spared either, with 11 GSU officers dying a fortnight ago in Garissa following an IED explosion.
Kenya first deployed her soldiers in Somalia in 2011. The KDF team was absorbed into AMISOM a year later. Despite liberating many towns, a number of soldiers have fallen victim to Al-Shabaab attacks. In 2017, at least 70 soldiers died at Kulbiyow military base.
A number of politicians have been calling for a strategic withdrawal of KDF from Somalia. ODM treasurer Timothy Bosire, a close ally of opposition leader Raila Odinga, said the move is long overdue.
“Taking the soldiers to Somalia was a bad idea in the first place. The government should withdraw and station them along the border,” he said.
But during the Mashujaa Day celebration last weekend, President Uhuru Kenyatta maintained that the troops will continue participating in restoring peace and stability in Somalia.
The US is one of the biggest financiers of AMISOM after the European Union. Despite the latest stand on Al-Shabaab by the US, Kenya is lobbying for a non-permanent seat at UNSC, a move that could boost her bid to have Al-Shabaab blacklisted.