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Kenya and Somalia in joint action to step up war against terrorism | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Visiting Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed [dark suit] inspects the honour guard at the State House in Nairobi, capital of Kenya. Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed began his first state visit to Kenya on Thursday ahead of a special summit on the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to be held on Saturday. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta [right] and visiting Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed attend a press conference at the State House in Nairobi XINHUA PHOTO - PAN SIWEI
Kenya and Somalia in joint action to step up war against terrorism

by Chris Mgidu NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan and Somali leaders Thursday vowed to scale up war against terrorism by dealing ruthlessly with Al-Shabaab militants, who have been increasing terror attacks in the two countries.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed agreed that the fight against Al-Shabaab must continue until they are no longer a threat.

"Al-Shabaab remains ready to kill innocent people in both Kenya and Somalia," Kenyatta told journalists after holding bilateral talks with the Somali leader in Nairobi.

Kenyan soldiers who are part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have been battling the militant group in southern Somalia since 2011 when they launched cross-border operations over abduction of foreigners and frequent terror attacks on Kenyan soil.

President Mohamed, on his part, has lauded Kenya for the prominent role it has played in the fight against Al-Shabaab through the AMISOM.


Kenya and Somalia agree on measures to boost bilateral ties

by Chrispinus Omar and David Musyoka NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya and Somalia on Thursday announced a raft of measures aimed at boosting trade and easing movements of people, goods and services.

Addressing a joint news conference after holding talks in Nairobi, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and visiting Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed resolved to open two border posts in Dobley-Liboi and Mandera-Bulahawa.

Kenyatta said the two countries also agreed to revitalize their engagement in all areas of mutual interests within the context of a reactivated joint commission of cooperation.

"We also agreed to meet regularly to monitor the progress of our bilateral relations," Kenyatta said, terming President Mohamed’s visit a fresh start to the two countries’ close ties.

Both Kenyatta and Mohammed directed their countries’ security teams to meet immediately and agree on modalities of re-launching direct flights between Nairobi and Mogadishu within two weeks.

Kenyatta also said forthwith there would be no visa requirement for diplomatic and service passport holders between the two countries.

The two leaders also discussed Somalia’s refugees issue with a view to help them return and rebuild their nation, a conversation that will continue at a regional special summit on Durable Solutions for Somalia Refugees that Kenya will host on Saturday.

Kenyatta said Kenya would establish a technical training institute for youths currently in refugee camps and its environs to enhance technical skills necessary for their rehabilitation upon return.

"If Somalia prospers, so does Kenya.

"If Somalia is peaceful, so is Kenya.

"It is up to us, then, to do all we can to help each other secure these goods for our people," Kenyatta said.

President Mohamed lauded Kenya as one of Somalia’s strongest allies and partners in East Africa, hosting the largest number of Somali refugees for decades and contributing to the peace and stability of Somalia through the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

He said the authorization of the resumption of flights from Nairobi to Mogadishu by President Kenyatta ushers in a new beginning that will enhance development of trade and economic growth between the two countries.

"Our cooperation is indeed critical to our historic relations and our continuous efforts to fight insecurity and poverty," said Mohamed.

Mohamed who is visiting Kenya for the first time as a head of state said his government was ready to work with Nairobi to realize the full benefits of their economic cooperation.

At least 10 killed as Al-Shabaab attacks town in southern Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- At least ten people including three Al-Shabaab fighters were killed and several other injured in an attack by militants in southern Somalia port city of Barawe early Thursday.

Barawe district Commissioner, Aden Omar Madobe said three militants, four government soldiers and three civilians were killed during the dawn fighting between the Somalia national Army (SNA) and Al-Shabaab.

Madobe told reporters that the fighting erupted after Al-Shabaab militants attacked SNA military bases in the town, but were defeated a few hours past midnight.

"Al-Shabaab militants attacked the town overnight and heavy fighting between SNA and Al-Shabaab fighters ensued. It caused casualties, three Al-Shabaab militants were killed in the battle.

"They later fled the scene and PKM gun was recovered. We lost four soldiers and three civilians," he added.

The commissioner said that the militants did not capture the town, but admitted that they were very organized.

The attack is the latest in string of periodic assaults by the insurgents who are fighting to topple the Western-backed government.

Al-Shabaab militants claimed victory, saying they killed 15 government soldiers and burned three armed vehicles during the confrontation that last for about two hours in Barawe.

The allied forces operate in the region, in particular, the port town of Barawe despite Al-Shabaab attempt to capture it or wage attacks.

The latest incident comes after seven people were killed in a suicide attack in Mogadishu on Tuesday hours after Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire announced his cabinet.

UN envoy reports urgent challenges facing Somalia

UNITED NATIONS (Xinhua) -- UN envoy for Somalia Michael Keating said here Thursday that the Somalia is facing urgent challenges as the Horn of Africa country is haunted by the humanitarian crisis and risk of imminent famine.

The statement came as Keating, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Somalia, was briefing the UN Security Council on the current situation in the African country.

"Despite the persistent drought in the country, scaled-up humanitarian efforts meant that more people were being reached with food aid, nutritional support, health care services and access to safe water," said Keating.

"One of the most urgent challenges includes the need for funding for immediate life-saving action, in particular for the cholera response, which now affected 11 of the 18 regions," he said.

Meanwhile, Keating noted that there was optimism in the country, however, following the recent electoral process, which had created momentum for fresh political engagement amongst Somalis.

The international community, including UN agencies, is working hard to prevent another famine in Somalia five years after the previous one devastated the country.

Across Somalia, 6.2 million people will face acute food insecurity through June 2017.

Of these, nearly three million people are in Phases 3 (crisis) and 4 (emergency) of the five-phase International Phase Classification for Food Security (IPC), representing more than a two-fold increase from six months ago. Phase 5 is famine.

The grave humanitarian situation in Soma was further aggravated by drought which pushed some to flee the country in February.

Since the start of the year, more than 3,770 Somali new arrivals have been recorded at Melkadida in Ethiopia, and acute malnutrition has been reported in around 75 percent of arriving child refugees.


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