Kenyan minister warns over Somali recruitments
Nairobi – Foreign Minister Moses Wetang’ula has warned Kenyans against joining any foreign army amid reports that the Somali transitional government was recruiting youths in parts of the country to join the war against Islamists seeking to oust the government.
Speaking at a Nairobi hotel where he hosted a luncheon for new ambassadors, Mr Wetang’ula said: “If any Kenyan masquerades as a Somali national and is recruited in any army, they are committing an offence. And if we find any non-Kenyans recruiting Kenyan youths, that is an act of aggression.’’
Asked if he was aware of any recruitment by both sides in the Somali conflict and by American NGOs for youths to fight in Afghanistan, the minister said he was not aware on any such activity.
Mr Wetang’ula who had just welcomed the new ambassadors of Qatar, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Sierra Leone, Niger, Trinidad and Tobago and North Korea in the first ever reception by a Kenyan minister for new envoys added:
“Kenya is not aware of the running of any mercenary force as that is contrary to our statute, what goes on in Somalia only concerns us in as far as it affects our security at the border.’’
He added that Kenya had signed an agreement with the Somali transition government ”as part of regional solidarity to help Somalia back on its feet.’’
The new ambassadors who presented their credentials to President Kibaki at State House on Monday are non-resident, operating instead from Addis Ababa, Kampala, Cairo and Sana’a, Yemen.
Among the six, the most notable was North Korea’s Pak Hyon Jae, who expressed interest to cooperate with Kenya in water projects, sanitation and education.
Asked if Kenya was interested in getting nuclear technology from North Korea, Mr Wetang’ula said Kenya had the capacity to develop its own nuclear technology through its institutes of higher learning and the ministry of Energy.
Mr Wetang’ula urged the new ambassadors to tell their countries that the forthcoming earth summit in Copenhagen should not just be a talking shop. He said: “Tell your capitals that Kenya as the host country of Unep and Habitat would like to see a unified approach to climate issues, we share the earth, we either act or perish.’’