US assists Kenyan Navy with new patrol craft
Oct 9, 2006
Mombasa, 6 October: The United States has informed Kenya that it would be donating a fleet of six armoured offshore patrol boats to assist the East African country with maintaining maritime security along its coastline.
The US assistance comes in the face of increasing concerns over the security situation in neighbouring Somalia, where the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) is assuming power over large sections of the country, leading to a possible widespread movement of people fleeing from the area of conflict in southern Somalia.
The US obviously fears that the UICís assumption of power in Somalia will lead to possible terrorist activity involving groups such as Al-Qaeda and has expressed its concern at the development. The developments place Kenya in the forefront of US and anti-terrorist activity in the region, something that Kenya would ordinarily have not wished for.
The value of the patrol craft is said to be US $ 3 million and consists of five 8m Defender class patrol boats and a single 13m Archangel class boat. In addition Kenya armed forces will receive equipment and training.
Last week Kenya announced that it had increased land and sea patrols near the Somali border, while the navy and port officials had been placed on high alert.
The new patrol craft will be used for monitoring the coastline and deterring criminal activity including illegal arms and drug running.
In 2005 the US also donated four Defender class boats to the Yemen to assist that country with patrolling its coastline.
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