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Terrorism & Security

Kenya, Somalia look for international help to fight Al Shabab

As much as half of Al Shabab's income comes from businesses in the Somali port city of Kismayo. Kenya and Somalia have requested international support for a naval blockade on the town.

By Correspondent / November 1, 2011

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, center-left, accompanied by Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, right, speaks to the media following their meeting in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday. An airstrike hit a refugee camp in southern Somalia killing at least five people and wounding dozens more, an international aid agency said Monday, while Kenya's military acknowledged carrying out an air raid but said it killed only Islamist militants, and Prime Minister Ali said his government is looking into the airstrike and reported civilian deaths.

Ben Curtis/AP

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Kenya and Somalia have issued a joint appeal for foreign assistance in their fight against Islamic militants Al Shabab, as Kenyan forces continue to launch air strikes against the group in southern Somalia.

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At a meeting in Nairobi, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali of the Somali Transitional Federal Government asked for international naval support to blockade the Al Shabab-controlled port town of Kismayo in Somalia, reports The New York Times. The Islamist organization is thought to get as much as half of its income from businesses in Kismayo, CNN reports, citing United Nations estimates.

Though Kenya and Somalia's joint appeal for aid did not single out any specific countries or organizations, the Times writes that a Somali spokesman said that his country would be interested in help from NATO, which just ended its Libya operations. And a Kenyan official said that the two countries had already approached the US and European nations for assistance.

AllAfrica.com writes that the statement also raises the possibility of bringing charges of human rights violations against members of Al Shabab at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The statement said that the Somali transitional government "will seek ICC assistance in beginning immediate investigations into crimes against humanity committed by individuals within the Al-Shabaab movement with the aim of seeking their indictment...."

Kenya stepped up its campaign against Al Shabab three weeks ago, when it launched an incursion into Somalia in its first major military operation beyond Kenya's borders since the end of the colonial period. But while the Somali transitional government initially expressed concern at Kenyan troops operating within Somali borders, Somalia's Prime Minister Ali said that the two governments were now working in concert, reports The Times of South Africa.

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