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Minister dares Al-Shabaab

Monday April 27 2009

A group of Somali militia leaders has distanced itself from an agreement signed with the government, raising concerns about the success of the pact. Photo/REUTERS

A group of Somali militia leaders has distanced itself from an agreement signed with the government, raising concerns about the success of the pact. Photo/REUTERS PHOTO/ FILE 

By BENJAMIN MUINDI and KIBIWOTT KOROSS

The government has dared Somali militiamen to seize any part of Kenya and face military action.

“Kenya is a sovereign country. We have the capacity and the ability to stave off any incursions,” Foreign Affairs assistant minister Richard Onyonka said on Monday.

He was responding to reports that the insurgents were planning to take over North Eastern Province and subject it to the rule of Sharia law.

Mr Onyonka said the government would do anything to protect its territory.

North Eastern Provincial Commissioner Kimeu Maingi was at the weekend quoted as saying the Al-Shabaab, a militia group linked to al-Qaeda, had officially communicated to the government, warning “they would stop at nothing, including armed conflict, to invade the province and make it part of their country and rule it using their religious laws”.

Aggression scheme

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Speaking on the sidelines of a Somalia conference in Nairobi exploring the country’s civil service training opportunities, Mr Onyonka said such threats would not deter Kenya from ensuring that the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) is successful in achieving its agenda.

Mr Maingi had said the abduction of several Kenyans at the border town of Mandera last month was part of Al-Shabaab’s wider scheme to aggress Kenya.

Elsewhere, Labour minister John Munyes asked the government to intensify security in the North Rift following new attacks by cattle rustlers believed to be from Uganda.

Mr Munyes said security should be beefed along all Kenyan borders to repel the attackers.

He said many people had died and livestock worth millions of shillings lost as a result of the persistent raids by bandits in his Turkana North constituency.

“Our people need to be helped. The government should intervene,” said the Labour minister, adding that a senior chief was killed in Kakuma on Thursday when bandits attacked a village in the area.