From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Sun Mar 08 2009 - 13:52:13 EST
Somalia insurgents accuse Kenya over border security
Sun Mar 8, 2009 10:13am EDT
MOGADISHU, March 8 (Reuters) - Islamist insurgents controlling southern
Somalia have accused Kenyan troops of crossing into their territory and
warned the east African nation to stop troop movements along their common
"Kenya has been making false allegations of facing danger from the border,
and that is a great danger to the region's security and stability," the
Islamists said on their web site www.kataaib.info.
"We believe that they intend to destroy the Islamic administration
implemented in Somalia," said al Shabaab, a hardline Islamist group opposed
to a new moderate president.
The group has been angry at Kenya since it helped capture Islamists trying
to flee Ethiopian and Somali government troops in early 2007.
Kenya closed the 1,200-km (745-mile) border after the Ethiopians chased the
Islamic Courts Union from Mogadishu early in 2007, but the flow of refugees
increased despite the closure.
In December, al Shabaab crossed into the country through the remote border
town of El Wak and kidnapped two Italian nuns who were held in Mogadishu for
Al Shabaab, which is on Washington's list of terrorist groups, and allied
Islamist militia control most of southern Somalia.
Kenya's foreign minister said earlier the government was on high alert and
was increasing security at the border. He said the border would remain
closed until there was stability in the failed state.
Opening the border would expose the country and the region to instability,
Al Shabaab's statement came as newly-elected President Sheikh Shariff Ahmed
was due to begin his first official visit to Kenya since his election in
Djibouti last month.
Ahmed will also visit Uganda and Burundi, which contribute troops to a 3,500
strong African Union (AU) peace force in Mogadishu.
Analysts say al Shabaab is the biggest threat to the new government, the
15th attempt to bring lasting peace to the Horn of Africa country which has
been without a government since 1991.
At least 16,000 civilians have been killed and a million more driven from
their homes since the Islamist insurgency began, while the ensuing
humanitarian crisis has been termed one of the worst in the world.
"If Kenya does not stop violating our country we shall defend ourselves and
fighting will not take place only in Somalia," the statement said.
(Reporting by Abdi Sheikh; Writing by Wangui Kanina)
C Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved
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