Al Shabaab could establish ties with DRC rebels

English: DRC, orthographic projection.

English: DRC, orthographic projection. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By KEVIN J KELLEY Special Correspondent

Posted  Saturday, February 22   2014 at  16:13

In Summary

Somalia’s Al Shabaab militants could potentially establish links with anti-government fighters in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the United States Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region said last week.

Russell Feingold noted in a wide-ranging talk at a Washington think tank that previous Al Shabaab strikes in Kampala and Nairobi indicate it is “getting pretty close to the DRC.”

Mr Feingold, who previously served as a US senator, spoke about Al Shabaab’s possible spread in the context of a book he wrote in 2012 — While America Sleeps.

The book warns that the US is failing to pay sufficient attention to emerging terrorist threats in some parts of the world, including Africa.

Speaking on the existing security situation in the eastern DRC, Mr Feingold welcomed the defeat of the M23 rebel group but urged the Congo government to ensure that justice is done in regard to M23 fighters who have fled to Rwanda and Uganda.

“There must be a credible programme in place in the DRC for handling the cases of these former rebels,” the envoy said. In order to persuade Rwanda and Uganda to extradite M23 fighters who fled Congo, “properly constituted courts” must be established and prison conditions must be shown to meet international standards, Mr Feingold said at a forum held at the US Institute for Peace.

The DRC must also address the issue of the death penalty before the rebels are extradited.

He said Rwanda is now co-operating with the peace process in the region and President Paul Kagame has insisted that the UN force in the DRC should now focus on FDLR rebels operating in the country.

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