Kenya’s Raila Odinga Wants EU to Attack Somalia’s Al-Shabab Islamists
Kenya’s prime minister has asked for funds and troops from the US and Europe in a “final onslaught” on the Somali port of Kismayo, the main stronghold of the Islamist militant group al-Shabab.
Raila Odinga said Kenyan forces would get to Kismayo by August and said beating al-Shabab would need “an operation by land, sea and air”.
But EU foreign policy spokesman Michael Mann said this went beyond its mandate.
EU warships have been in the area since 2008 to tackle pirates.
Its mandate was recently expanded to allow for land attacks against Somalia-based pirates.
Up to 10 warships are on patrol off the Horn of Africa as part of the EU’s Atalanta operation, which was launched to protect commercial shipping against pirate attacks.
But Mr Mann told the BBC: “We have to be very careful to operate within the bounds of international law. We have our mandate for our mission, which is specifically for fighting pirates at sea and for destroying their armaments dumps.
“If we were going to change it, we would need 27 member countries to agree to that. At the moment we feel fighting al-Shabab is more effectively done through other means.”