Thursday, December 28, 2006

Four KENYAN MPs condemn attack on Somalia

Four Kenyan MPs and the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims yesterday condemned the military incursions by Ethiopia on Somalia and demanded immediate withdrawal of troops.

The leaders said members of the international community wishing to pursue peace in Somalia must recognise the authority of the Union of Islamic Courts and engage it in dialogue.

They spoke after an official visit to Somaliland, a breakaway section of Somalia which is seeking independence.

Kabete MP Paul Muite who led the delegation said yesterday: “The Islamic Courts have a majority support; about 90 per cent support from the people of Somalia. That is a reality that anyone wishing to bring peace must accept.

“The reason is simply that they were able to disable and end the reign of warlords and bring peace to ordinary people. The fiefdoms to which the ordinary people paid taxes and road tools and the fighting between warlords is no more.”

Mr Muite said that the belief by Bush administration that the union consists of Islamic extremists and Al Qaeda operatives and sympathisers, was misguided as majority of the leaders were moderates.

“The Bush administration has a way of seeing things in black and white and this is not the case in Somalia. They have to be more pragmatic and realise that the majority of leaders are moderate.”

The MP also asked Kenya as the chair of Igad, to initiate dialogue with the Transitional Federal Government and the union.

Mr Muite was accompanied by colleagues Oloo Aringo, Jim Choge and Patrice Ivuti. Also on the trip was former Mandera West MP Aden Abdullahi.

“In Somaliland, we found a functional government, economy and Parliament and a people who wish to be recognised by the international community as a sovereign state so that they can take part in building peace in the horn of Africa. The war there appears to be a proxy of the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea,” Mr Muite told in Nairobi.

But the delegation asked the Islamic union to abandon its quest for more territory.

Supkem(Supreme Council Of Kenya Muslims) said the attack was “an outright violation of all international and civilised protocol”.

The council also asked Igad members to recall their respective ambassadors from Ethiopia.
The leaders spoke a day after the Kenyan Government asked Ethiopia to stop the strikes saying the decision was unilateral.