Navigating the Path Ahead: Kenya and US Response to Somalia’s Request for UNSOM Forces Withdrawal

In a surprising turn of events, Aden Duale, Kenya’s Defense Secretary, and Michael Hammer, the US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa (SEHOAUS), engaged in a crucial meeting on Thursday evening.

The focus of the meeting was on security arrangements in Somalia post-Atmis. It aimed at maintaining peace and security, highlighting their commitment to peacekeeping and counterterrorism efforts.

Somalia’s recent request to have the UN peacekeeping mission UNSOM removed from the country by October 2024 was unexpected. Somalia expressed gratitude for the UN’s past efforts while looking to transition to a new level of cooperation.

The sudden withdrawal request caught the UN off guard, especially since Somalia had previously sought an extension for the forces’ presence. However, Somalia now insists on a swift conclusion to the mission by October 2024.

In contrast, Kenya had already announced plans to withdraw its forces by the end of the same year. Despite concerns about increased insecurity after the withdrawal, Somalia remains confident in its ability to handle security within the nation.

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