You can read details of this story on BBC Africa.
While war in Somalia was inevitable due to high tensions between Somali’s transitional government & the Union Islamic Court (UIC) it is the implication that this conflict has for the rest of East Africa that we should be most concerned about.
For starters the conflict can easily spill over to all countries surrounding Somalia. Ethiopia is already involved with Ethiopian troops on the ground being the basis of UIC’s attack on the transitional government.
Kenya will surely have to confront two issues due to the conflict. Firstly, is the refugee crisis that is already nearing a breaking point. The US through a UN appeal just released emergency funds to alleviate pressure due to new arrivals of Refugee including 30,000 just from Somalia.
Secondly, is Kenya’s dilemma in how to approach the power struggle between Somalia’s transitional government and the UIC.
It is feared with good reason that Somalia has great potential to be a safe haven for radical Muslim groups. Bombings in Nairobi and Mombasa have been linked to Somali origin and or support.
The bottom line is that Kenya is greatly at risk if there is anarchy in Somalia. (Here is a good analysis of the situation by Standard)
At the same time Kenya cannot out rightly declare its support for the transitional government and denounce the UIC. What would happen if the UIC conquered all of Somalia and established control in every region of the country?
Would Kenya want to be a DE facto enemy of a radically extremist Somalia? Of course not. Hence the reason that Kenya treads carefully and strategically backs the UN / AU support for Somalia’s transitional government.
We can only hope that the AU and the UN will quickly intervene before a full regional conflict erupts. If not then the future for East Africa is a grave one.