Somalia: Kenya renews calls to have Al-Shabaab blacklisted as terrorist group

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NAIROBI, Kenya – United Nations Security Council could yet again be put on task to list Al-Shabaab as a terrorist group, Kenya’s top detective George Kinoti has said, reports says.

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Efforts to have Al-Shabaab blacklisted flopped in August at UNSC, even with Nairobi’s spirited fight to have the group restrained economically.

Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Ambassador Kamau Macharia had petitioned the UN security council to effect the sanctions, arguing that the group had caused havoc around the world.

“It has caused serious havoc, not just in Kenya but the region and the world in general,” Kamau had said. “It is important that all global efforts now come together to combat this.”

On Monday, Kinoti, who serves as Director of Criminal Investigations, said Nairobi is keen to have the Somali-based terrorist group blacklisted.

“Kenya continues to push for Al-Shabaab to be declared a terrorist organization,” Kinoti said on Monday during the 88th Interpol conference in Santiago, Chile.

Kenya is among the countries worst hit by frequent Al-Shabaab explosions, with the most recent taking place a fortnight ago at Dadaab constituency where 11 police officers were killed.

In a statement on Tuesday, the National Police Service also confirmed arresting two people, who are said to have been plotting what could have been a deadly attack in Mombasa during the Mashujaa Day celebration on Sunday.

Besides the internal frequent attacks by Al-Shabaab, Kenya has also lost over 400 troops in Somalia. In 2016, over 200 KDF soldiers were killed by the militants in the notorious Gedo region at El Adde.

The United Nations Security Council rejected Kenya’s application in August following resistance from the US and Somalia, who claimed that blacklisting Al-Shabaab would sabotage humanitarian activities in Somalia.

Somalia’s permanent representative to UN Ambassador Abukar Osman lauded the resolution, arguing that Kenya should focus on ending illegal charcoal trade first within Somalia.

“Commend Council members for rejecting the unjustified listing of AS to 1267 and urge Kenyan Government to implement existing SC res,” he had tweeted.

The US also said blacklisting Al-Shabaab would also derail the progress made by security forces in disintegrating the group, calling for a rejection of Kenya’s application.

The 16 signatories of letters to the Trump administration, Cabinet members and leading members of Congress warned that the Kenyan proposal could cripple life-saving relief efforts in Somalia.

“We are deeply concerned by a Kenyan government proposal to include al-Shabaab in the separate UN sanctions regime applicable to al-Qaeda, ISIL and their affiliates, which does not provide the same type of exemption for humanitarian assistance,” the critics wrote.

Kenya’s latest efforts could be explained through the recent candidature for UNSC non-permanent representative seat. AU gave Kenya an okay to contest, but Djibouti also vowed to give Kenya a run for her money in 2020 UN polls.

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