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U.N. envoy for Somalia calls for stepping up fight against al Shabaab
September 24, 2013 / 9:16 AM / 4 years ago

U.N. envoy for Somalia calls for stepping up fight against al Shabaab

The new United Nations envoy for Somalia Nicholas Kay (R) is welcomed by Somalia's Information Minister Abdullahi Ilmoge at the airport in Somalia's capital Mogadishu June 3, 2013 . REUTERS/Feisal Omar

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations envoy for Somalia called on Tuesday for additional African troops to counter al Shabaab, which he said numbered some 5,000 people and posed an international threat.

Nicholas Kay, U.N. special representative for Somalia, condemned the deadly attack on Westgate mall in Kenya, which the Islamist militant group has claimed responsibility for, and said that there was a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to help bring peace to Somalia.

“Security remains the number one challenge, the control and defeating of al Shabaab is key to this,” Kay told a Geneva news briefing. “The amount of money that we’re talking about that’s required for the extra effort in Somalia would be very small. But the cost of walking away would be very expensive.”

(Corrects name of Nairobi mall)

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Tom Miles; editing by Mike Collett-White

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