EP backs military training to help for Kenyan forces fight terrorism
01 May 2015, 10:07
Nairobi - The European Parliament (EP) called Thursday for a military training mission in Kenya and asked to supply equipment to the country's army and police to help halt the spread of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group.
MEPs said the European Union (EU) should also contribute financially to help ensure peace and stability in the country and region, in a resolution passed by 578 votes to 31, with 34 abstentions. This should be done in cooperation with the African Union, the Parliament added.
In addition, the EU needs to address the persecution of Christians and other communities as a priority in dialogue with churches and religious organizations, MEPs said.
They pointed to examples in Nigeria, Iraq, Libya and Sudan where Christians were being persecuted, at the same time calling on the Kenyan Government not to draw parallels between ordinary Muslims and Al-Shabaab. Instead it should target only the perpetrators, not wider "ethnic and faith communities".
The resolution was passed following the attack on Garissa University in Kenya on April 2, in which 147 Christian students were killed.
During a debate on Wednesday, MEPs also stressed the need to address issues such as poverty in the region which provide fertile ground for terrorism.
Spanish United European Left MEP Lidia Sendra Rodriguez said the EU should tackle the root causes of conflict in Africa. "The solution is not more military operations," she said, pointing out that most people in Kenya live in poverty.
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