Kenya president says talks with Obama to focus on extremism

By Editorial Board - 23 July 2015 at 7:06 pm

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The fight against extremism will be the key topic of talks with President Barack Obama, who will be visiting the country of his father later this week, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Tuesday.

Kenya is battling a wave of extremist attacks by al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants from Somalia that has killed more than 400 people since October 2011 when the country sent troops into Somalia to fight the militants. Al-Shabab has vowed to avenge the Kenyan military presence.

Kenya has been working closely with American security agencies in the fight against extremism and the meeting with Obama will further strengthen this cooperation, Kenyatta said.

The visit also indicates the two countries have overcome strained relations over accusations of election violence. Ahead of the 2013 presidential elections, a U.S. diplomat appeared to caution Kenyans against voting for candidates accused of crimes against humanity.

Deputy President William Ruto and radio station head Joshua Sang are on trial for allegedly orchestrating the violence following a disputed presidential election in late 2007. More than 1,000 people died and 600,000 people were displaced from their homes

The International Criminal Court dropped similar charges against Kenyatta in December, citing a lack of sufficient evidence for the decision, which it attributed to witness intimidation and lack of Kenyan government cooperation.

Kenyatta dismissed assertions that Obama will not meet Ruto.

“The deputy president is part of this government so we shall all be meeting and proceeding with what we need to do,” he said. “All I can say is that those who doubted the strength of the friendship between the two countries, or the depth of our engagement, had better re-examine their assumptions.”

Obama’s father is from Kenya.

TOM ODULA, Associated Press

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Editorial Board

Editorial Board

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