Monday, October 1, 2012

Kenya not planning military occupation of Kismayu, says Carson

US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson. Photo/BILLY MUTAI

US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson. Photo/BILLY MUTAI  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By KEVIN J KELLEY in New York

The presence of Kenyan forces in Kismayu is intended to be part of “a very temporary liberation strategy” and will not amount to a military occupation of the southern Somalia port city, a top US diplomat said on Monday. Read (Kenyan forces hit Al-Shabaab bases around final Somali bastion)

“Kenya has no interest in trying to establish political authority there,” US Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson told reporters in a conference call. “They simply want to drive out al-Shabaab and to help create the stability that has long been absent.”

“Kenya's presence (in Kismayu) is not intended to be a military occupation,” the former US Ambassador to Kenya declared.

The aim instead is to allow Somalia's government, along with Amisom and the United Nations, to take control of Kismayu “very quickly,” Ambassador Carson added.

He acknowledged, however, that dangers may lie ahead in Kismayu.

“We recognise that Kismayu is comprised of a number of clans and sub-clans, and that there will be clan competition,” Ambassador Carson said.

He praised Kenya's military role in Somalia, saying, “Much credit for operations in Kismayu goes to the Kenyan forces that are part of Amisom.”

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