Wikileaks: US rebuffed Kenya’s request on Jubaland fight

Senior American government officials rebuffed a request from former President Mwai Kibaki’s Cabinet ministers for help on Kenya’s ill-advised “Jubaland initiative”, latest cache of leaked diplomatic cables reveal.

Wikileaks says US Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow separately met four Kenyan officials — former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, former ministers Yussuf Haji (Defence), late George Saitoti (Internal Security) and former Chief of Defence Jeremiah Kianga — on January 26, 2010.

All the Kenyan Government officials pleaded for American support in GoK’s efforts to stabilise Somalia. The Jubaland initiative, which was then rolling, was the precursor to Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia the following year.

It entailed creation of a peaceful buffer zone between Kenya and Somalia hinterland in the area historically known as Jubaland. Analysts have since described Kenya’s initiative, which involved training of Somalia soldiers, as a “gift to Al Shabaab recruiters in Kenya”.

“Kenyan officials also emphasised their strategic focus on denying Al Shabaab control of the Kismayo port, a key logistics hub. ASD Vershbow agreed that training additional TFG (Transitional Federal Government of Somalia) forces was important, but told ministers Haji and Saitoti that while ‘you have our understanding, you do not yet have our support’,” the cables say.


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