Kenyan Defence Minister assures UN of access to civilians in Somalia

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The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, listens to a local NGO worker speak about conditions on the ground during a visit to Mogadishu, Somalia, in 2011.

Kenya's Minister of Defence has given assurances that the Kenyan forces will do everything possible to minimize the impact of their ongoing military operations on civilians in Somalia.

Kenyan soldiers are part of the African Union forces that are supporting Somali troops battling the Al-Shabaab insurgents near the town of Kismaayo, south-west of the capital, Mogadishu.

Dianne Penn reports.

“Following the recent escalation of fighting near the town of Kismaayo, the top UN humanitarian official in Somalia, Mark Bowden, met with Kenya's Minister of State for Defence Mohamed Yusuf Haji and Chief of Defence Forces, General Julius Karangi.

The officials discussed the protection of civilians during ongoing military operations near Kismaayo which has been occupied by the Al-Shabaab insurgents.

There are reports that the Al-Shabaab fighters are leaving their stronghold and that civilians are fleeing the town.

Mr. Bowden has welcomed the assurances from the Minister that the Kenyan Defence Forces will help ensure humanitarian access to all people in need.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.”

Duration:  44″

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