Kenya solicits support for Somali fight

June 12, 2012 at 10:29 AM

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 12 (UPI) -- A Kenyan official said U.S. and European assistance was needed to help African forces to take on al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia.

The European Union has military vessels in the region to protect key shipping lanes from Somali pirates. The U.S. State Department, meanwhile, has put a bounty on leaders of al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida affiliate seeking to establish an Islamic state in Somalia.

The formal interim period for the Somali governments ends in August as slow gains are made against al-Shabaab in an effort supported by forces from the African Union.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said more U.S. and European support was needed to help with a "final onslaught" against al-Shabaab, the BBC reports.

Kenyan military forces have fought in support of the interim government in war-torn neighboring Somalia.

The European Union's mandate doesn't extend to ground operations to address al-Shabaab threats in Somalia.

"If they (the United States) can also bring military assistance so much the better but for now we are talking about financial assistance," Odinga added.

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