Kenyan President Urges Support for Somalia Marine Unit, Training

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki called for more international support to help the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia capture Kismayo, the last major stronghold of al-Qaeda-linked insurgents.

Amisom, as the mission is known, needs additional funding for a naval unit and for training of the Somali army before it takes control of internal security from the peacekeepers, Kibaki said at the United Nations in New York yesterday.

“More support is required from the Security Council and individual partner states in order to consolidate the gains on the ground,” Kibaki said, according to a copy of his remarks e-mailed yesterday from the Presidential Press Service.

The al-Shabaab group has been fighting for five years to topple the Western-backed government and impose Islamic law in Somalia, which has suffered more than 20 years of civil unrest sparked by the ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

Al-Shabaab controls swathes of territory in south and central Somalia. African Union forces have captured the capital, Mogadishu, and several other bases over the past year, and are now targeting the port city of Kismayo, a key source of income for al-Shabaab.

The AU troops are from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Djibouti. Ethiopia has sent a separate military force.