NAIROBI, (PNA/Xinhua) — The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said on Wednesday that increased terrorist attacks in the region will not make it pull out regional troops from Somalia.
IGAD Executive Secretary, Engineer Mahboub Maalim said in a statement that the Africa Union peacekeeping (AMISOM) forces will only pull out of the Horn of Africa nation after durable peace and stability has been achieved.
“Let it be known that these terrorists shall neither discourage IGAD and the Member States in their collective efforts in Somalia nor intimidate AMISOM forces into pulling out of Somalia until total peace and stability has been achieved,” Maalim said.
He was reacting to the Saturday’s terrorist attacks in Nairobi which has so far claimed some 67 lives of civilians and security officers during the siege of Kenya’s largest shopping mall, the Westgate.
Al-Shabaab insurgents said they launched the attack in response to Kenya’s sending troops to Somalia to fight the insurgents. On Wednesday, the militants claimed that 137 hostages have died at the mall.
Maalim said the regional bloc shall continue to support the development of harmonized regional migration and counter terrorism policy frameworks to make the entire region uninhabitable for the spineless cowards.
He said the seven member mediation body has developed the Regional Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition Conventions that are ready for ratification and domestication.
Maalim also said IGAD is also assisting Member States in capacity building with regional training curricula in areas of migration, transnational organized crimes including terrorism, human trafficking and smuggling, as well as cyber-crime and money laundering.
He commended AMISOM that includes Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) and other contributing national forces for liberating and bringing stability to many areas of Somalia.
“I wish to appeal to the international community to support Kenya at this hour of need, as well as back regional efforts to fight all forms of terror,” said Maalim.
He commended President Uhuru Kenyatta for handling the unfortunate, tragic situation in the most professional and delicate manner it deserved.
Maalim also saluted the gallant men and women of the Kenyan security agencies whose colleagues paid the ultimate price while confronting the terrorists.
“I would like to categorically state that this regrettable event has reaffirmed the commitment of our eight-member regional organization and the international community to work together to stem out the menace of terror in the region as a whole and Somalia in particular,” he added.
Westgate Mall is a upscale shopping center popular with the diplomatic community, Kenyans and foreign visitors.
It is a multi-storey building with a basement and rooftop parking that also houses the mainstream department stores, banks, phone centers and electronic shops, boutiques, coffee shops, movie theater and party/amusement areas.