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US gives Somalia Sh6.4 billion

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THE US government has pledged Sh6.4 billion ($40 million) to the Somalia Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to go into assisting in the deployment of an African stabilisation force.

US ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger said the money will also be used to revive the country’s civil society to foster peace and democracy.

Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Minister Raphael Tuju and six Cabinet colleagues have embarked on a mission to convince other African states to contribute forces to restore peace in Somalia. Ranneberger said the ministers, under the leadership of Tuju, were making headway in convincing as many countries as possible to avail their troops in the shortest time possible, with Uganda already having pledged 1500 troops.

Briefing the media yesterday at the US embassy in Nairobi, Ranneberger said US was committed to supporting the peace process in Somalia, adding that it would not relent until stability is achieved by encouraging dialogue between the warring factions.

He called on the international community to provide more funds to support the African stabilisation force and other functions of the TFG.

He defended his country against accusations that it had vested interest in Somalia in view of recent air strikes by its troops, saying US interest in Somalia was to restore peace and stability besides flushing out al Qaeda elements in the country.

He said it was evident that al Qaeda’s influence in Somalia had waned since the ouster of the Islamic Courts Union government by Ethiopian troops, adding that TFG led by President Abdullahi Yussuf still needs the support of the international community in consolidating its operations in the capital Mogadishu.

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