Kibaki backs action on Eritrea terror link

Monday July 4 2011

President Isaias Afwerki's Eritrean state has been accused of sponsoring Al Shabaab, a Somali militant group associated with the Al Qaeda terror network. Kibaki’s sentiments underline concern about the threat posed to Kenya’s security by Al Shabaab.

President Isaias Afwerki's Eritrean state has been accused of sponsoring Al Shabaab, a Somali militant group associated with the Al Qaeda terror network. Kibaki’s sentiments underline concern about the threat posed to Kenya’s security by Al Shabaab.  

By FRED MUKINDA [email protected] AND PPS

President Kibaki has asked the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development to act on the security threat posed by Eritrea in the region.

Speaking at an Igad meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Monday, the President said the group’s Executive Council had drawn attention to the growing destabilisation activities in the region associated with Eritrea.

The Executive Council has censured Eritrea for engaging in subversive activities against its neighbours.

“This is a matter of serious concern and it is my hope that this Summit will focus some attention on it in view of the need for collective security and sustainable peace,” President Kibaki said.

He added: “It is in the interest of all our countries that these issues are adequately dealt with at this summit.”

Eritrea has been accused of sponsoring Al Shabaab, a Somali militant group associated with the Al Qaeda terror network.

Mr Kibaki’s sentiments underline concern about the threat posed to Kenya’s security by Al Shabaab.

The concerns are shared by powers such as the US that are helping Kenyan security forces upgrade their capacity.

International terrorism

As part of the upgrade, Kenya is to train a new force to protect its borders and guard against international terrorism with US government aid.

The US Government is to provide $14.1 million (Sh1.26 billion), allocated to Kenya in its budget proposals for next year, mainly for boosting border operations.

The documents on the State department’s website show the defence upgrade would shield Kenya in case of an “exploding Sudan and imploding Somalia”.

The money is in addition to the Defence ministry allocation in this year’s Budget.

It involves sending local troops to the US for specialised training and installing computerised systems at the borders to help immigration officials to identify terrorists attempting to enter or leave Kenya, the State Department documents show.

“Land border security initiative in Kenya, in partnership with the US Border Patrol, to train and equip a new rural Kenyan Border Patrol Agency to secure vulnerable remote border regions from illegal crossings,” part of the report reads.

South Sudan, in particular, is seen as a fragile nation as it acquires its independence, while Somalia is considered the seat of the Al Qaeda terror network in the region.

The report cites Kenya’s well-developed air travel that makes it “a major operational theatre or transit haven for terrorist groups or individuals” comparing it with such notorious ones as Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Thailand.

Sh198 million ($2.2 milli