Stabilize Somali to ensure security of the entire region- urges Kenya

Published on Wednesday 2nd July 2008

Nairobi: The Kenyan government has called on the international community to stabilize neighboring Somalia which it said is the source of illicit weapons threatening the stability of the entire region.

Speaking during a regional workshop in Nairobi on Tuesday, Kenyan Defense Minister Yusuf Hajji decried the proliferation of illicit weapons from the Horn of Africa region and urged the world to help stabilize war-wrecked Somalia.

Hajji said political instability in Somalia where governance institutions have for a long time been ineffective, has been the cause of insecurity in Kenya and other neighboring countries.

"The effort to attain meaningful stability in the region, however, faces serious challenges from the protracted anarchy in Somalia ," Hajji told small arms experts from Africa, the United States, Britain and Australia who are meeting in Nairobi.

"As the world is fully aware, conflict and lawlessness in Somalia has continued to be the source of all manner of illicit firearms and other activities that are causing havoc to Kenya and the entire region as the rest of the world watch with apparent helplessness," the minister said.

He called on neighboring countries to implement international obligation on arms control to prevent the trafficking of weapons into the East African nation.

"Let me reiterate that it behooves on all of us, individually and collectively as states, to take every measure to contain any threat and damage that may arise from the use of illicit small arms and light weapons, including Man-Portable Air Defense Systems(MANPADS)," said Hajji.

The MANPADS are short-range surface-to-air missiles designed to be fired by an operator on the ground against a target in the air.

"In this sense, Kenya calls on the international community to get more involved in processes that are meant to stabilize Somalia."

The minister said the east African nation is committed to all measures put in place to curtail the illegal and destructive operations of criminals locally and across the world.

The workshop, organized by the Regional Center on Small Arms , brought together coordinators on small arms management, representatives from regional bodies in Africa that address small arms issues, representatives from regional economic communities from around Africa, the African Union, the United Nations and experts on MANPADS from the United States, Australia and Britain.