January 16, 2012

UN doubts claims Eritrea supplied weapons to Shabaab

by Peter Leftie | The United Nations has discounted reports that Eritrea supplied weapons to the Al Shabaab to fight Kenyan troops last year.

A UN Security Council assessment report for December said investigations had established that Eritrea did not supply the weapons as alleged by the Kenya Defence Forces.

“The Monitoring Group also pursued its investigation into alleged arms deliveries by air to the Al Shabaab controlled airfields in Southern Somalia in late October and early November 2011. The SEMG’s preliminary assessment is that these reports were incorrect and that the alleged deliveries to Baidoa probably did not take place,” the report reads in part.

Military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir had claimed that at least three aircrafts had landed at the Baidoa airstrip in Southern Somalia carrying weapons to the militants.

“We know Baidoa is being used to deliver weapons,” Chirchir was quoted at the time and warned that Kenyan troops will shoot down any aircraft overflying Southern Somalia.
“Every time we have a delivery, we are going to take that aircraft down.”
“All aircraft are hereby warned not to land in Baidoa,” Chirchir said in a statement on his Twitter account.
“Anyone violating this will be doing so at their peril. Further unauthorized flying over the region will be considered a threat.”

Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetangula also summoned Eritrean ambassador to Kenya, Mr Beyene Russom to his office to explain Asmara’s alleged links to the militants.

Eritrea through its Foreign Affairs ministry vehemently denied the claims branding them as part of Ethiopia’s campaign of misinformation to discredit Asmara.

On Monday, the Eritrean embassy in Nairobi demanded independent investigations into the matter.

“Eritrea has requested a full, fair and independent investigation to be conducted by UNSC to the above mentioned allegation and all other unfounded related accusations,” a statement from the embassy read.

Peter Leftie : pmutibo@ke.nationmedia.com

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