Kenyan, Somali leaders vow to defeat Shabaab
NAIROBI (Anadolu Agency) – Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his visiting Somali counterpart Hassan Sheikh Mohamud pledged on Saturday to work together to defeat the militant group Al-Shabaab.
“This is not a battle between nations; it’s not a fight against any community; and it’s not a fight against any religion,” President Kenyatta said in a joint press conference.
“This is a fight where Kenyans and Somalis, and indeed the entire international community, will join hands to fight,” he said.
“It is a fight that we intend to win. It is a fight that we shall not relent until we win,” added defiant Kenyatta.
Kenya has seen several attacks in recent weeks blamed,though not claimed, by the Somali militant group.
Gunmen attacked Mombasa’s Joy in Jesus Church last month during a Sunday morning service, killing six and wounding a number of others.
The attack came a few days after Kenyan authorities announced they had foiled a major terrorist plot after seizing two men driving an explosives-laden car through the coastal city.
Kenya has been on high security alert since last September’s Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi in which 67 people were killed. The attack was claimed by Al-Shabaab.
The Somali leader reiterated the same determination to fight Al-Shabaab.
“We are working closely with the Kenyan authorities,” he said.
“One act or another does not mean that the terrorists are in control or that they are undefeatable,” he said.
The Somali leader said that his country will provide all the necessary resources to ensure that the region is safe.
“In the greater Horn of Africa, we will defeat Al-Shabaab.”
President Mohamud noted that for the first time in 45 years, the people of Somali hope to see elections taking place in 2016.
“It is a dream to see that a Somali woman putting her own vote in the ballot box peacefully and safely,” he said.
“The Somali government will make sure that that happens,” he added.
The Somali government has unleashed a major offensive to flush out Al-Shabaab militants from the country.
In November, President Mohamud vowed that 2014 would witness the end of the Al-Qaeda-allied militant group.
Somalia has remained in the grip of on-again, off-again violence since the outbreak of civil war in 1991.
The country had appeared to inch closer to stability with the recent installation of a new government and the intervention of African Union troops tasked with combatting Al-Shabaab.