Kenya's role in Somalia peacekeeping behind mall attack: Russia

Moscow, Sep 22 (IANS/ITAR -TASS) The reason for the attack on a mall in Kenya's capital Nairobi is the active participation of that country's military contingent in the peacekeeping mission in Somalia, a senior Russian official said Sunday.

Chairman of the Russian Federation Council's International Relations Committee Mikhail Margelov said the Al Shabab, which has claimed responsibility for the attack, is Al Qaeda's militant branch in eastern Africa since February 2010.

"This is evident from the sneaky character of the terrorists," Margelov, who is also the Russian presidential envoy to the African countries, said.

"This is an act of terrorism, which reason (sic) is the active participation of Kenya's military contingent in the African Union's mission in Somalia, where Al Shabab has been roistering and spreading the roistering to neighbouring countries," he said.

Margelov stressed that Kenya recognised the legitimacy of Somalia's transitional government and has called for bigger international assistance to that government.

The envoy, who has visited Kenya several times, says Kenya's aspiration is development.

"The recent peaceful election of the country's President Uhuru Kenyatta is a clear achievement of the democratic procedures and modernising changes in Kenya," Margelov said, adding that "this alone is a reason causing hatred from Al Shabab involved in terror in Somalia and in neighbouring countries".

He said that he was confident that the people of Kenya would "manage to overcome the act of terrorism in Nairobi, which threatens peace in eastern Africa".

--IANS/ITAR-TASS

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