AFRICAN UNION INTEGRATES KENYAN TROOPS INTO AMISOM MISSION
News reached overnight that the African Union has now formally integrated the Kenyan troops inside Somalia into the AU / UN AMISOM mission. Kenya invaded the lawless territory under control by Islamic militants, mainly the Al Shabab group but also other Al Qaida affiliates, after several abductions and killings of foreign nationals including raids on refugee camps, invoking her right to self defence. The Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu gave consent to the military action too although sections voiced dissent, exposing them as traitors within. Kenyan ground troops, supported by air force and naval units, began pushing back the militants, clearing large tracts of Southern Somalia of their bases and disrupting their supply lines, from the air where notably Eritrea broke UN sanctions when flying in ammunition and arms before being kept away by Kenyan fighter jets and from the sea too. The recent entry of Ethiopian forces has strengthened the AMISOM mission too, where Kenyan, Burundian and Ugandan troops, alongside units of the TFG in Mogadishu, are now forming up a pincer movement to push Al Shabab units back while the Ethiopians, not yet under AMISOM but coordinating their movements with the head quarters in Mogadishu, have opened a new frontline, effectively now bottling up the militant strongholds.
This development is significant for Kenya as the cost of the operation has now shifted to the African Union and the UN, while adding much needed troops on the ground supporting and consolidating the gains made previously by Ugandan and Burundian soldiers. Launched as Operation Linda Nchi the forward defense was widely applauded in the region and found support from around the world but the most notorious fence sitters themselves suspected of being either in league with or covertly supporting Al Qaida and its various offspring groups.
The AU move is also seen as strengthening the fight against piracy from Somalia, and while the total elimination of that menace, aka problem from hell is still a long way off due to the pirates also allegedly having bases in Somaliland and other break away regions of the country, at least the part of the country between the capital Mogadishu and the Kenyan border is now being progressively cleared of criminal elements.
On the international scene a Somalia Conference was called by the UK for the 23rd of February in London, where it is expected that the current naval coalition members will discuss Somalia with representatives from the UN, the African Union and members of the AMISOM participants Uganda, Burundi and Kenya.
Meanwhile have sporadic attacks taken place in parts of Kenya near the border with Somalia, such as Garissa, prompting the already increased security in the region to be strengthened further after renewed terror threats by Al Shabab and their Al Qaida friends. Watch this space for upcoming news of any developments concerning Somalia.