UN urged to approve funding for Kenya’s Navy in Somalia.
The African Union and a United Nations special envoy urged the UN SecurityCouncil on Tuesday to approve funding for a naval component of the AU forces fighting to stabilise Somalia.
Kenya is the only African nation known to be contributing naval support for the AU’s military mission in Somalia (Amisom).
But Kenyan naval units have not been formally integrated into Amisom, which is funded largely by the United States and European Union under UN auspices.
Approval of the request to endow Amisom with a naval component would result in a sizable financial benefit for Kenya, which has deployed forces in Somalia for the past 12 months.
Kenya’s ground troops in Somalia were incorporated into Amisom in July.
“The capture of Kismayu highlighted the critical role of maritime assets and capabilities in the ongoing campaign,” the AU said in a report presented to the Security Council.
Referring to Kenyan naval forces, the AU added, “Indeed, the complex operation that led to the capture of Kismayu involved patrols along the coast, as well as an amphibious assault on the beaches of the city.”
Augustine Mahiga, the UN secretary general’s special representative for Somalia, affirmed the appeal for Amisom to be given a naval component.
He told the Security Council on Tuesday that the Kenya-led capture of Kismayu represents “a decisive turning point in the conflict.”
Mr Mahiga said it is “essential” that Amisom be supported to control more effectively the coastal waters around Kismayu and other Somali cities.
The objective of an Amisom naval force would be to protect the AU’s own forces and supply lines and to interrupt Shabaab’s resupply lines while also securing the ports for commercial use, Mr Mahiga explained.
Due in large part to the rout of Shabaab from Kismayu, the Islamist insurgency has been degraded to the status of a “rag-tag militia,” Mr Mahiga said.
He warned, however, that Shabaab will remain dangerous as it focuses on terrorist and hit-and-run tactics.
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