US welcomes Kenya role in Kismayu capture

The United States said on Wednesday that it views the Kenya-led capture of Kismayu as an important step in stabilising Somalia.

Thursday October 4 2012

By KEVIN KELLEY

The United States said on Wednesday that it views the Kenya-led capture of Kismayu as an important step in stabilising Somalia.

"Al-Shabaab’s departure from Kismayu demonstrates continued momentum by pro-government forces against this terrorist organisation,” the State Department said in a statement.

“It is clear that al-Shabaab’s extremist views and violent tactics have no future in a modern Somalia that is seeking to rebuild after more than two decades of conflict.”

“The United States welcomes the capture of the strategic port city of Kismayu by African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) peacekeepers and Somali forces,” declared the two-paragraph statement, which did not explicitly acknowledge Kenya’s leading role in the military success.

The US went on to urge "all forces present in and around Kismayu to ensure full respect for international human rights and humanitarian law".

That cautionary note can be taken as a prompting of Kenyan forces to avoid actions that could result in civilian casualties. The United Nations had earlier called for “maximum restraint” by all sides in Kismayu following attacks that claimed Somali civilians.

The State Department also called for “rapid establishment of an inclusive political framework to ensure the city is governed in the interest of all its citizens and of other Somalis who depend on its port.”

The US appeal for “an inclusive political framework” is meant to suggest that Kenyan forces should strive to accommodate the interests of various Somali clans with a significant presence in Kismayu rather than attempting to control the city in an alliance with only a single clan grouping.

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