The United States is considering additional assistance to the African Union military mission in Somalia (Amisom) in the wake of an announced merger between Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda.
“Obviously, it’s bad and it’s dangerous,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Friday in response to reports of a linkup of the two groups. “And it’s further to our grave concerns about Al-Shabaab and the danger it poses in that part of the world.”
Asked at a Washington press briefing whether the Obama administration might provide more help to Amisom, Ms Nuland said, “We’re looking at what the implications might be, but I don’t want to predict any changes in policy at the moment.”
On Saturday at press briefing, Kenya’s military spokesman Col Cyrus Oguna was optimistic that the merger between the two terror groups would attract international support for the war against terror.
Col Oguna said that the partnership was a clear indication that the Al-Shabaab group had been significantly weakened with the loss of at least eight of its top commanders.
There appears to be growing support for expanded international aid to Amisom, which is moving to absorb Kenyan troops into its ranks.
The United States and other powerful countries may soon agree to underwrite a strong and sustained offensive against Shabaab, which is seen as having been significantly weakened, in part because of Kenya’s push into southern Somalia.
The 40-nation International Contact Group on Somalia urged at a meeting in Djibouti last week that Amisom take advantage of recent military gains against Shabaab.
A February 6 communique declared: “The Group acknowledged that this would require adequate, sustainable and predictable funding, including for an expanded logistical support package, and called for (unconditioned) contributions to the Amisom Trust Fund, including from potential new donors, and for additional troop contributors.”
Decisions on increased aid to Amisom could be made this month. The British government is hosting an international meeting in London on February 23 to consider new efforts to stabilise Somalia.
Meanwhile, police spokesman Eric Kiraithe has said that the suspects behind the improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and sporadic shootings in Northern Kenya have been identified.
Mr Kiraithe expressed optimism that the state security is stable and the internal security organs do not anticipate any attacks.
He said that security agents and Northern Kenya leaders will work together to further stabilise security in the region.
However, Kiraithe has also urged Kenyans to be proactive in security matter since certain areas considered as soft spots can easily attract terror attacks from Al-Shabaab.
“With internal vigilance, we are capable of preventing these attacks,” he said.