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SA presses for African Force amid reports of second Kenya attack
June 17, 2014, 6:24 am

A member of the Kenyan security forces walks past the body of one of those who were killed by militants, in the village of Kibaoni just outside the town of Mpeketoni, on the Kenyan coast [AP]

A member of the Kenyan security forces walks past the body of one of those who were killed by militants, in the village of Kibaoni just outside the town of Mpeketoni, on the Kenyan coast [AP]

With updates of second attack inserted

The Somali extremist group Al-Shabaab on Tuesday claimed that its fighters had carried out a second attack near the Kenyan town of Mpeketoni and killed up to 20 people.

Kenyan police in the Poromoko area near the resort island of Lamu said they had discovered eight bodies and were searching for others believed to be missing.

Early on Tuesday, the Al-Shabaab owned Andalus radio station operating out of Somalia claimed that fighters had burned down houses and a police station.

This second attack comes less than 24 hours after a deadly assault in in the same area which left at least 48 people dead.

News of the second attack came as South Africa stressed the need for the African Union to move on its previous agreements to operationalise the African Standby Force.

“It is crucial to build a stronger and a well-resourced African Union to take forward the promotion of peace, security and the socio-economic advancement of the continent. Part of the capacity needed by the AU is the establishment of the African Standby Force for rapid deployment in crisis areas without delays,” Clayson Monyela, official spokesperson of the South African Foreign Ministry told The BRICS Post on Tuesday.

More than 50 gunmen attacked people in the streets, assaulted the police station, set two hotels on fire, and sprayed bullets into  dozens of people in bars and cafes watching FIFA World Cup in the busy Kenyan coastal town of Mpeketoni that left 48 dead and scores injured.

“The Al-Shabaab Muhajideen Movement said the attack was avenging for Muslim clerics massacred in Mombasa by Kenyan security forces,” said Somalimemo, a pro-militant Somali website quoting Al Shabaab officials.

The group reportedly warned Kenya, which has troops serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and called for it to withdraw its troops.

“Do not ever dream of living peacefully in your lands while your forces kill the innocent in our lands” Al Shabaab said in the statement on Monday.

Kenyan troops are currently deployed in southern Somalia where they deposed militants from power.

The Somali-based radical group of Al-Shabaab opposes the foreign forces presence in Somalia and vowed to avenge African states that contributed forces to the AU mission.

The South African Foreign Ministry spokesperson told The BRICS Post that Pretoria as a member of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) will discuss these grave challenges to Africa at the next meeting of the AUPSC and the upcoming AU Summit in Malabo.

“These worrying developments threaten to undermine the progress made by the continent in the economic and other fronts. The targeting of unarmed and innocent civilians is deplorable. The AU needs to urgently activate its peace and security architecture to bring to an end the activities of the armed groupings that are responsible for a series of attacks targeting innocent civilians,” said Monyela.

South Africa has in recent years promoted the idea of an African intervention force. President Jacob Zuma has pushed for the establishment of an African intervention force named African Capacity for the Immediate Response to Crisis (ACIRC) which was in principle accepted by the AU Assembly.

Dr. Malte Brosig, Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, says South Africa is now putting its full political weight behind the African Union’s security architecture.

“The country has significantly extended its foreign policy range and is now the clear leader in matters of peace and security in Africa,” writes Brosig.

“Even without a rapidly deployable African intervention force operational at the moment, South Africa has become more assertive militarily. Within the UN mission in the DRC, an intervention brigade staffed mainly with South African troops was set up with a mandate to neutralize rebel forces. Together with the DRC national army, this offensive military strategy seemed to have paid off, as in late 2013 the notorious M23 had to surrender,” he adds.



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