Kenya has filed a case at the United Nations Security Council asking for investigations into Eritrea’s links with Al-Shabaab terror group.
Kenya’s Permanent Representative at the UN Macharia Kamau filed the case days after the Eritrean Foreign minister Osman Saleh wrote to the council, calling for independent investigations into Kenya’s claims that his country was funding Islamic militants in Somalia.
Eritrea wants Kenya reprimanded for “serious and harmful accusations,” including claims that Asmara recently supplied three planeloads of arms to Al-Shabaab through Baidoa airport.
“Our ambassador in New York has also filed a case before the Security Council’s Sanctions Committee to undertake investigations on what we believe Eritrea is doing in Somalia,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Lindsay Kiptines said on Sunday.
Kenya recently asked the council to support its operation in Somalia by deploying African Union troops to areas taken from Al-Shabaab.
Kenya is also seeking a naval blockade of Kismayu, the port Al-Shabaab derives much of its revenue from.
The British Government has officially endorsed Kenya’s military operation in Somalia as have many other countries.
The Inter-governmental Authority on Development, the regional grouping, has made similar allegations against Eritrea.
In Somalia, two youths were on Sunday beheaded in Afmadow by militants for allegedly spying for the Transitional Federal Government and Kenya Defence Forces.
Residents said their heads were displayed in the streets in an attempt to frighten locals from cooperating with the transitional government or Kenyan troops.
In Laikipia, Internal Security minister George Saitoti said the Kenya Defence Forces would only quit Somalia after the militants were defeated.
“They made our lives miserable by their actions of kidnapping tourists and killing them. They even conducted terror attacks within our boundaries. That is unacceptable as the government has a duty to defend its people at whatever cost,” he said.
On Friday, Ethiopia accused Eritrea of using the Security Council to deflect attention from its links to militants in Somalia.
East African leaders who met under the umbrella of IGAD in Addis Ababa to discuss the military operation in Somalia also called for sanctions against Eritrea.
“Eritrea must clearly and publicly commit herself to immediately stop all of these activities and present a credible plan and timeline to implement this change in policy. The aim [of taking Kenya to Security Council] appears to be dividing the supporters of sanctions and some possibility to avoid their tightening. Given the unanimity of the IGAD over the sanctions, it seems rather naive to think that any such strategy might work,” Ethiopia’s foreign ministry said on Friday.
Ethiopia and Eritrea are bitter rivals and have fought a border war.
Eritrea’s ambassador to Kenya Beyane Russom blamed his country’s woes on Ethiopia. He claimed Ethiopia’s past operations in Somalia had revived dormant terrorist groups.
“We have never armed any group in Somalia. We want peace and stability in Somalia,” Mr Beyane said.
IGAD wants Eritrea to take radical measures, including supporting the military operation against the Al-Shabaab as a sign of good faith.
Meanwhile, Kenya will contribute troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia if the mandate is changed to reflect the situation on the ground.
“We would be submitting the request to the Security Council and to the AU. We will also request support for more troops and the Transitional Federal Government to ensure that normalcy returns to Somalia,” Mr Kiptiness said.
Kenya is also reaching out to Arab countries to support its operations in Somalia.
President Kibaki was recently in the United Arab Emirate where the leadership endorsed the war on terror.
“We are also looking for moral support to Arab states supporting TFG, especially Turkey,” Kiptiness said.