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As Kenya Navy Shells Somalia, UN Last Whispered Concern 3 Weeks Ago, Mahiga Winks?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 7 -- On Somalia, does the UN whisper one thing but means another? Three times Inner City Press has asked the UN if its envoy Augustine Mahiga has anything to say about the shelling of Kismayo by the Kenyan Navy, which in mid August killed at least three civilians but has continued since.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky, the second time Inner City Press asked, said that the AMISOM mission has no naval component. But Kenya's military has confirmed it is their ship. Inner City Press on September 6 asked if the UN is just looking the other way:

Inner City Press: the Kenyan army has said 'that is our ship.' So basically you have shelling by one country of another in support of a UN-supported peacekeeping mission, but with everyone winking, like this is not ours, it’s not related to us. If it is not authorized by AMISOM, is it in contrary to law? Is there some, since civilians have been reportedly killed by some of the shelling, is there any UN response to it at all?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, as I said, Matthew, we have been checking, and as soon as I have something, I will let you know, okay? But I assure you that we have been checking and asking.

The next day, Nesirky read out a three week old statement not by Mahiga but by the humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden. It seems clear that Kenya has not listened to Bowden; perhaps it was never meant to.

Meanwhile the UN's lead envoy Augustine Mahiga did speak out on September 6 -- but only in an open letter trying to tell Somali parliamentarians how to vote.

Mahiga, for the perceived success of his mission, would like Al Shabab driven out of Kismayo, apparently be any means necessary. So his underling whispers the UN's concern, with the Kenyan Navy ignores and keeps on shelling. And Mahiga speaks only on other topics.

 Does the UN whisper one thing but means another? It sure seems like it. Watch this site.

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