Kenya has renewed its push to have the United Nations pass a resolution that would issue similar sanctions to the Al-Shabaab terror group as the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and ISIL following Sunday‘s attack on a Lamu naval base.
The push is being spearheaded by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary (CS) Monica Juma and her Interior counterpart, Dr Fred Matiangi.
On Sunday, speaking on K24 TV’s Punchline show, Dr Juma faulted the United Nations for rejecting Kenya’s request to designate Al-Shabaab as a terror group under Resolution 1267.
The Al-Shabaab attack led to the deaths of three American residents, including a soldier. Five Al-Shabaab militants were killed by the joint Kenya-US force that repelled the attack.
The Foreign Affairs CS Juma said the world should ensure that humanitarian assistance is not appropriated by the Al-Shabaab and other terror networks.
“We believe that there is no good and bad terrorist. In our case, it was after the Dusit attack. We believe we have to bring the full kit of sanctions to reduce Al-Shabaab’s space to function. The refusal wasn’t based on a disagreement that this is a terrorist group. Rather, it was framed from a humanitarian argument, that this would minimize humanitarian access for people in Al-Shabaab held territories.
Kenya’s campaign to have Al-Shabaab heavily sanctioned was fought off by aid organisations that warned that such a move means humanitarian groups operating in Somalia would no longer benefit from an exemption that keeps their work in compliance with existing sanctions.
“There would be a chilling effect in the humanitarian response,” said Mark Yarnell, senior advocate and U.N. liaison for Refugees International. “Aid organisations would be concerned that if they carry out programs as they are doing now, without the humanitarian exemption, their work could essentially be criminalised.”
However, Dr Juma contends that Kenya’s view the Al-Shabaab has been appropriating humanitarian assistance to fund operations, whose main objective is to cause mayhem.
“You cannot balance out a humanitarian argument with a terrorist argument. The question is, Is Al-Shabaab argument. And if the answer is yes, then the world has an obligation to bring all measures that will reduce and destroy Al-Shabaab because their objective is to kill and create mayhem,” said CS Juma.
Her comments received support from the Interior CS Matiang’I who urged the United States to have Al-Shabaab enlisted among global terrorist organisations under the UN Resolution 1267. “The Al-Shabaab is not a missionary organization, we are living with hell next door,” said Dr Matiang’i.
When Kenya’s proposal to the United Nations was rejected, Foreign Affairs Secretary told The EastAfrican that he was disappointed that countries that have been hit the most by Al-Shabaab and other extremist groups did not support our bid.
“We would expect that of all the entities of the UN multilateral system, that the UN Security Council would be most sensitive to this issue and would feel most compelled to bring to bear the maximum pressure on organisations such as Al Shabaab, which have killed hundreds of innocent people in both Somalia and Kenya.”
“[This is] an organisation that continues to hold tens, if not hundreds, of innocent civilians behind their terrorist lines, and views the holding of those poor innocents as a justification to hijack the international humanitarian system and the proceeds from it.”