Following the recent escalation of fighting near Kismaayo and the spike in civilian displacement from the town, the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, met today with Kenya’s Minister of State for Defence Mohamed Yusuf Haji and Chief of Defense Forces, Gen. Julius W. Karangi, to discuss the protection of civilians during ongoing military operations. Following the meeting, Mr. Bowden said:
Today, Kenya’s Minister of State for Defence assured me that the Kenya Defence Forces [KDF] would do everything possible to minimize the impact of their ongoing military operation on civilians. The minister also told me that the KDF would help ensure humanitarian access to all people in need.
While humanitarian actors remain neutral and strictly independent of military and political processes, they rely on all sides to gain access to those in need. I welcome Kenya’s assurances and reiterate my call for all parties to the conflict to make every effort to minimize the impact of conflict on civilians and to allow full humanitarian access to all people in need.
NAIROBI, Kenya, September 19, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/
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