[Dehai-WN] VOA: Analyst: Kenya Should Expect 'Repercussions' From al-Shabab

[Dehai-WN] VOA: Analyst: Kenya Should Expect 'Repercussions' From al-Shabab

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2011 17:56:48 +0200

Analyst: Kenya Should Expect 'Repercussions' From al-Shabab

Gabe Joselow | Nairobi

October 17, 2011

VOA's East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow speaks with Somali political
analyst Abdi Samad, of Southlink Consultants in Nairobi, about the
implications of a military incursion.

JOSELOW: Well, the first thing I wanted to ask was about these recent
reports that the Kenyan military has gone into Somalia to go after al-Shabab
militants it believes are responsible for a spate of kidnappings over the
past couple of months. Is this strategy an effective way to combat

ABDI SAMAD: What we're hearing from the media, Kenya, they crossed over into
the border, almost 100 kilometers from the border. If they say we crossed
over into Somalia, in fact, you know, Kenyan army forces are fighting
against unseen forces. Why I'm saying unseen forces, you cannot
differentiate between al-Shabab fighters and Somali populations. They are
not professional soldiers; they are not career soldiers. So if you cross
over and in fact start fighting with what you call al-Shabab, who is

JOSELOW: What do you think the reaction of al-Shabab is going to be? Can we
expect retaliatory attacks as far as Nairobi?

ABDI SAMAD: It depends. If Kenya's succeeded to root out al-Shabab from the
central and southern part of Somalia, then they are obviously going to
revenge. Although al-Shabab they are not the professional soldiers, what
they are going to do is only the incident they did sometimes back in
Kampala, the same thing they can do here. They can even make havoc inside
Nairobi, they can do that. Virtually the country will be at war with unseen
forces - unseen forces - yes, that will be the repercussions.

JOSELOW: Kenya has refused to participate in the AMISOM mission that is
supporting the TFG in Mogadishu and other parts of Somalia. So would a
military incursion into Somalia contradict Kenya's previous foreign policy
and what are the implications of that?

ABDI SAMAD: In fact, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, they
requested it, the African Union at least to contribute 20,000 - a strong
20,000 forces to restore peace and stability in Somalia. Today, if they
cross over unilaterally, there will be repercussions; you know, long-term

The best option for Kenyans today: first, they have to deploy armed forces
along the border area to secure the safety and security of the people.
Secondly, they must screen the people who are going back and forth between
the Kenya-Somali border. The third one, let them deploy what you call the
armed forces, let them reinforce AMISOM, the African peacekeeping force in

Let them contribute, let's say 2,000, 3,000 Kenyan army there. From there,
then, Kenya, they are in Mogadishu, legitimately, the other side of the
border legitimately. So in case anything happens, they can still pursue
those guys, organized gangs from Mogadishu and from the other side of the
border, which the international community can accept.

JOSELOW: What are the repercussions for Somali people, especially in south
and central areas of Somalia.

ABDI SAMAD: You know, when the army crosses over into a civilian population,
obviously what will happen? Killings, displacement, what will happen? They
are going to bombard civilians, indiscriminately, whether it is children,
whether it is the old age people, the normal civilians. So all in all, there
will be a problem. Because when the Kenya Army are crossing over into Somali
territory, they are not distributing flowers, what they are distributing are
bullets, to be honest.

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