Somali leader vows to eliminate Al-Shabaab as more arrested in swoop
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud vowed on Saturday to eliminate Al-Shabaab militants whom he said have lost ground.
Mohamud said his internationally-backed government is committed to the elimination of the Al-Qaida allied terror group and that it needs support and help from its partners.
"Al-Shabaab is losing; it is losing its training grounds, its recruitment and its finances. Al-Shabaab is doing the last kicks, what you see are kicks of a dying horse," Mohamud said in Nairobi while he joined his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, at the launch of the first Kenya Airways Dreamliner.
The Somali leader's remark came as the Kenyan security forces enhanced security in Eastleigh suburb of Nairobi which is predominantly inhabited by Kenyan Somalis.
Nairobi County deputy police commander Moses Ombati said the security operation which was launched in the "little Mogadishu' saw officer arrest more than 400 suspects.
"The security swoop was being carried out door-to-door and those without identification documents were arrested for further interrogation," Ombati said.
Al-Shabaab militants have vowed to attack Nairobi after the east African nation, which hosted protracted negotiations that culminated in the signing of the federal charter for Somalia in 2005, joined an African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia to flush out the insurgents it blamed for increased insecurity in the country.
The police said they are concerned that most public facilities have lowered their security alertness unlike two months ago when Kenya started pursuing Al-Shabaab.
Ombati said most suspects arrested on Saturday did not have appropriate identification documents and were detained in several police stations.
He said some of the suspects had fake identification cards and others appeared similar implying that they were being produced by the same cartel.
Speaking in Nairobi, Mohamud said he was confident that with the support of AMISOM and the Kenya security forces; the Somalia National Army has secured areas which were dominated by Al-Shabaab terror group.
He said terrorism is a global challenge that knows no boundaries and that the terror group found a foothold in Somalia when the country had no functional government.
The Somali leader said his government has a clear road map for achieving its agenda of having a free and fair election by 2016. "For the first time we anticipate to see Somali women casting their vote peacefully and in a secure environment," he said.
He expressed his gratitude for Kenya's continuous support of Somalia, saying the country had been a true friend which stood with Somali citizens during their worst moments.
"This is the country which received Somali people during their difficult times, it received Somali businessmen when they had nowhere to operate from," Mohamud said.
The Somali leader assured Kenyans that his government would utilize all its resources to ensure Al-Shabaab and other criminals are eliminated in the Horn of Africa nation.
Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo Saturday said that police had adopted a multi-pronged approach to fighting terror and other forms of crime.
Kimaiyo said the operations were prompted by the continuous attacks, and that another team of detectives was also in Eastleigh conducting intelligence-led covert operations.
"This national operation will continue until every Kenyan is safe and we are not relenting," the police chief said in Nairobi, noting that the security operation will be intensified across the country.
Kimaiyo said the police have increased its efforts to curb these levels of crime and stressed that the operation is ongoing in Nairobi, Mombasa and other counties.
He said the police will fulfill its constitutional mandate to guarantee the security together with other security agencies, by ensuring that law and order is maintained throughout the country and that peace and tranquility prevails.
"The police are working round the clock to ensure there is total safety. We have intensified patrol within the country's vital installations and other vulnerable areas and I assure every Kenyan, visitors and tourists that Kenya is safe," Kimaiyo said.
"I thank those Kenyans who have given us a lot of valuable information and request that many more people should continue to use 999 and 112 toll free lines which have been synchronized at the police headquarters," he added.
Kimaiyo said the ministry of interior has also launched a countrywide operation called "Usalama Watch." The website has been developed where members of the public can send complaints, tips and any other information relevant in combating crime.
"I want to assure the members of the public that any information shared with us will be treated with utmost confidentiality. Together we shall defeat terrorism and any form of crime, and its adherents," he said.