Secure Security… war on a menace…

Kenya’s fight to protect itself and rid its borders of the Al Shabaab and its terrifying menace has entered its third week. The brave young men and women were spurred into action on a day like any other when the Al Shabaab, who have terrified East Africa before in two gruesome attacks on Ugandan football fans in 2010 while they had gathered together in Kampala to watch that year’s world cup final; an act of terrorism that not only took 74 lives but shocked the rest of East Africa.

Still no one thought that more than a year later the terror group would strike fear into the hearts and minds of Kenyan’s and as a consequence wake us from our peaceful slumber by invading the shores of Lamu and kidnapping first a British couple on holiday then a French woman (who was later killed) these two acts set off questions about our internal security and questions were fast in going to internal security minister George Saitoti: the professor who also has one eye on next year’s elections and the tantalizingly vacant seat left by the outgoing President Mwai Kibaki. The security minister, residents of Lamu and indeed the country as a whole was caught unaware if not napping!

Kenya and its leaders were seemingly left with only one option – given that it is near impossible to negotiate diplomatically and peacefully with this menace – go in to war to protect thy self and so with that (the kidnappings) Kenya’s Army, Air force and Navy together with the Somali government set out on a mission to ‘Linda Inchi’.

Two grenade attacks followed in Nairobi killing 24 that not only served to scare the nation but also made us all hyper vigilant of anything and anyone ‘suspicious’. After which things were still tense with everyone seemingly on watch and soon SMSs were sent and received warning the recipients not to go to highly populated areas… That in itself was an absurd idea considering that there are large crowds almost everywhere one looks!

The only problem with dealing with insurgents is that there’s nothing special about them at all, they don’t wear large blaring signs on their foreheads broadcasting their presence.

Then came the mettle swipe detectors with security guard in toe ready to diligently search both my body and all my bags in colleges and office buildings even those on their honeymoon were not spared!

The country has its fair share of supporters neighbouring Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania have pledged their support to Kenya’s cause.

Then came a diplomatic goof that no one was coming; one that swiftly set right by Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga and his Somalia counterpart H.E Abdiweli Mohamed Ali following bilateral talks in Nairobi.

The goof came when Somalia’s TFG president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said he was opposed to Kenya’s invasion that the army’s purpose was to work with Somalia’s armed force and educate them and not an invasion as afore agreed upon by the two nations. In doing so sent confused looks and murmurs around the country.

Here are some of stipulations set out in the agreement forged and signed by the two premiers:

That Kenya’s security operation inside Somalia is aimed at eliminating the threat posed by Al Shabaab to Kenya’s national security and economic wellbeing, and is based on the legitimate right to self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter;

That Al Shabaab constitutes a threat to both Somalia and Kenya and is therefore a common enemy for the entire region and the world. This threat must be fought jointly by the two nations with support from the international community;

That the current operations are being led by the TFG of Somalia Forces with the support of the Kenyan Defence Forces in pursuit of legitimate Al Shabaab targets;

That the Somali Government supports the activities of the Kenyan forces, which are being fully coordinated with the TFG of Somalia and being carried out in the spirit of good neighbourliness and African unity.

That there will be continuous sharing of intelligence and information on Al Shabaab activities and the military operation to flush them out. In this regard, a joint high level coordination committee has been established which will maintain regular on-going contact including periodic meetings in Nairobi and Mogadishu.

That the international community assists in providing immediate humanitarian assistance in the liberated areas and provide needed funding for other urgently needed services such as in health and education.

That the TFG will seek ICC assistance in beginning immediate investigations into crimes against humanity committed by individuals within the Al Shabaab movement with the aim of seeking their indictment.

That the international community provides the necessary logistical and financial support for the blockade of the Port of Kismayu until Al Shabaab is removed;
That the Kenya Government shall not negotiate with Al Sahbaab but the

Transitional Federal Government of Somalia is free to negotiate with all armed opposition groups within the instruments guiding this road map (i.e. The Djibouti Peace Process and the Kampala Accord as recommended by IGAD and the African Union) provided they renounce violence.

AS I type this the Kenyan and TFG forces continue to move closer to the Alshabaab strong hold of Kismayu.

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