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As Kenya Navy Shells Somalia, UN No Answer For Days, Like Drone Strikes

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 4 -- In some countries, the UN looks the other way when civilians in a city get shelled. On Somalia, on August 30 Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's associate spokesman Farhan Haq:

Inner City Press: there has been a report that the Kenyan navy was shelling Kismayo and that they are not part of AMISOM [African Union Mission in Somalia]. They are in support of AMISOM military action there, but civilians have been killed. I just wondered if Mr. [Augustine] Mahiga, or how the UN views essentially the Kenyan navy shelling Somalia.

Associate Spokesperson Haq: There has been no comment from Mr. Mahiga thus far, but we’ll check and see whether there is anything he says further about these reports.

  But in the four days afterward, there was no further response. Rather, there were new reports of shelling, even indirectly confirmed by Kenyan Army spokesman Emmanuel Chirchir.

  And so at the next UN noon briefing on September 4, Inner City Press asked Ban's lead spokesman Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: there seems to be now renewed shelling of Kismayo in Somalia by the Kenyan navy. Since this is African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), I believe, it’s either materially supported by DFS [Department of Field Support] and there is Mr. [Augustine P.] Mahiga. What does the United Nations say? Some people are saying these are random; it’s not a targeted shelling, it’s just a simply shelling of a town in the name of peacekeeping. Is there some UN response to this?

Spokesperson Nesirky: I believe this has been raised already. To my knowledge, there is not a naval component of AMISOM. I will need to check, but to my knowledge there is not a naval component of AMISOM. But as I say, I will check.

  Eight hours later, there had been no response at all - most importantly, on what does the UN say about this shelling of a city in a country in which it has long had a Political Office? Why does the UN speak out against such shelling in some countries and not others?

  Some see this as similar to the plausible deniability of WHO did the strikes that most recently killed civilians in Yemen. For a country to try to get away with it is one thing. But the UN? Watch this site.

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