Somalia Accuses Kenyan Troops of Backing Militia

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Associated Press

Somalia’s government is calling for a neutral force in the disputed port city of Kismayo, accusing Kenyan troops there of backing one militia against others.

Somalia’s information ministry said late Sunday the country wants a “more neutral force” in the city that is home to a contingent of militiamen and where five clan leaders have all declared themselves president.

The statement is the strongest yet from a government whose officials have sometimes accused Kenya of taking sides in Kismayo, charges Kenya denies.

Kenya seeks a friendly buffer zone near its border with Somalia, one of the main reasons it sent troops to Somalia to fight al-Shabab in late 2011.

For weeks militias have been fighting for control of Kismayo in clashes that have killed an unknown number of people.