Kenya kicks Somali warlord back to Somalia

A member of a United States-backed secular alliance of warlords fighting for power in Somalia was kicked out of Kenya on Wednesday after police found him staying at a luxury hotel in Nairobi, authorities said.

Abdul Rashid Hussein Shiry, wearing a grey suit and tie as he was led out of the hotel, was taken to the airport for a flight back to neighbouring Somalia. It was not clear how long Shiry had been in Kenya, but alliance members have been on the run since the Islamic militias they opposed seized control of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on Monday.

The Kenyan government said in a statement on Wednesday that it was banning all forms of travel into Kenya by Somali warlords and their associates and that it “will not permit its territory to be used by those who persist in destabilising Somalia”.

Mogadishu has been convulsed by violence for months as the Islamic Courts’ Union, which has alleged links to al-Qaeda, strengthened its grip on the lawless country. Their advance on Monday came despite US support for the secular alliance of warlords.

The US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, have confirmed cooperating with the secular warlords to root out terrorists who might be hiding in the Horn of Africa.

The US administration has not confirmed or denied giving money to the alliance, saying only that it supports those who fight terrorism.

“We’re watching very carefully the developments there, and we will strategise more when I get back to Washington as to how to best respond to the latest incident there in Somalia,” US President George Bush said on Tuesday.

Somalia has been without a real government since largely clan-based warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and then turned on each other, dividing this nation of 8-million into rival fiefdoms.—Sapa-AP

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