Kenyan air strikes in Somalia killed 29 civilians following January’s Al-Shabaab attack on an Army base at El Adde, the United Nations has said.
In a report reviewed by the Security Council on Thursday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said wells and houses were also reportedly destroyed and livestock killed in the strikes by Kenyan fighter jets and helicopter gunships.
“In this regard,” he told the Security Council, “allegations of cluster munitions were reported by the media and local communities. However, the government of Kenya has officially denied this”.
Kenya is among 108 nations that signed an international agreement prohibiting use of cluster munitions.
The air strikes were in response to the devastating raid on the El Adde base on January 15. The Kenyan government has not said how many of its soldiers were killed but CNN reported in May that as many as 141 died.
A resolution on Somalia adopted by the Security Council on Thursday dealt a setback to Kenya’s push for a UN takeover of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).
President Uhuru Kenyatta had presented the request to the secretary-general on behalf of the AU when the two met in Brussels on June 15.
The resolution, approved by all 15 Security Council members, says simply that the council agrees with Mr Ban that “conditions in Somalia are not appropriate for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping mission”.
The council’s action authorises Amisom to continue operating in its present form to next May.
In his report, Mr Ban offered a mixed assessment of the status of Amisom’s campaign against Al-Shabaab.
It called attention to a shortage of ammunition and to the EU’s 20 per cent cut in stipends to Amisom personnel, resulting in a financial deficit for the AU and Amisom.