Kenya's plea to UN to classify Al-Shabaab a terrorist group

Wednesday July 31 2019

Al-Shabaab militants

Al-Shabaab militants train at a camp on the outskirts of Afgoye district in Somalia's lower Shabelle region on October 20, 2009. PHOTO | ABDIRASHID ABDULLE ABIKAR | AFP 

AGGREY MUTAMBO
By AGGREY MUTAMBO
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Kenya plans to formally ask the United Nations (UN) to classify Somali militant group al-Shabaab as a terrorist group.

The move is aimed at ensuring more attention is focused on combating the extremists.

Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau said Kenya will submit a proposal to have the UN Security Council list the Shabaab as a terrorist organisation under an expanded bid to annihilate extremist groups in the world.

“We will formally be submitting a request, seeking UAE’s support in listing al-Shabaab under UN Resolution 1267. This is important to bring the global efforts in tackling the group,” he said in Nairobi, after meeting a delegation of United Arab Emirates officials where they signed a series of bilateral agreements and agreed to finalise a security agreement soon.

“It has caused serious havoc, not just on Kenya but the region and the world in general. It is important that all global efforts now come together to combat this,” added Kamau.

Under Resolution 1267 of 1999, or subsequent and related decisions, the UN Security Council targeted terror or militant groups like the Talibans, Al-Qaeda and ISIS and their leaders such as Osama bin Laden, sanctioning the groups and those associated with them.

The Shabaab, which pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda in 2010—although a splinter group later sided with ISIS recently—has not been classified as a terror group by the UN, despite efforts by the African Union, and even the UN itself in combating Al-Qaeda and ISIS or their affiliates.

It categorised groups or persons for sanctions if they participate in financing, plan, facilitate, prepare or perpetrate activities for, in the name of or in support of Al-Qaeda, ISIL or their associates.

Officially, under the UN, terrorism is seen as a global threat but only Al-Qaeda and ISIL are listed are terror groups.

Previous bids to have the Somalia-based Islamic insurgency listed was opposed by the US and the UK over fears Nairobi would want to be delisted as a participant in the Somalia-Eritrea sanctions regime.

Kenya’s troops are part of the 22,000-strong African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) forces.

Amisom was established in 2007 and includes troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda deployed in south and central Somalia.

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