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Contradictions emerge on Al Shabaab links

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Denzel Musumba

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Two senior government officials on Thursday issued contradictory statements on Kenya’s stand on the Al Shabaab militia that is currently being pursued by Kenya Defence Forces in Somalia.Government Spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua vowed that the government would never negotiate with a criminal gang like the Al Shabaab but Foreign Affairs assistant minister Richard Onyonka said negotiations with the militia were welcome.
Addressing a news conference at Parliament Buildings, Onyonka said the Al Qaeda-linked terror group has frequently and constantly been in touch with the Kenyan government.“If the Al Shabaab would like to discuss and engage with the Kenyan government, our channels are very open,” said Mr Onyonka.
“If they don’t renounce violence, the Kenyan government shall not discuss anything with them,” added the Foreign Affairs assistant minister.
He also said that the government had allowed elements of the outlawed group to settle in the country as they sought a peaceful resolution to the Somalia crisis.
“We know that some Al Shabaab people have been staying here and it was a deliberate government decision to allow them to stay here, because we were engaged with them,” said Onyonka.
“The details are available on where they own their properties, where their moneys are… the Kenyan government knows. But even when that is an issue, the position the Kenyan government has had is that we should allow them to have room so we can negotiate with them,” he added.
Speaking separately at his weekly media briefing, the Government Spokesman exuded confidence that Kenya was already winning the war against them.More info click here

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