UN Monitoring Group reports strong Kenya links to both sides in Somalia

Kevin Kelley in the East African:

Kenya serves as “a major base” for Islamist groups battling Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government, the United Nations says in a recent report that also details the Kenyan government’s training of TFG forces — in apparent violation of a UN embargo.

Kenyan nationals account for about half of all foreigners fighting in Somalia under the banner of the Al Shabaab insurgency force, the report says.

Many of these fighters are recruited through a support network in Nairobi consisting of “wealthy clerics-cum-businessmen, linked to a small number of religious centres notorious for their links to radicalism,” the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia states in its March 10 report.

Leaders of Al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam, the other main insurgent group in Somalia, “travel with relative freedom to and from Nairobi, where they raise funds, engage in recruitment and obtain treatment for wounded fighters,” the Monitoring Group finds.

Some African and European diplomats based in Nairobi meanwhile engage in visa fraud that enables the smuggling of illegal migrants into Europe and other destinations for fees of about $12,000 for a man and $15,000 for a woman, the UN says.

In the meantime today, BBC reports that hundreds marched in Mogadishu in a second public protest against al-Shabab

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