Duale: Kenyan troops will not leave Somalia soon

Duale: Kenyan troops will not leave Somalia soon

NAIROBI, Kenya – The Kenya Defense Forces [KDF] will leave Somalia only when stability is achieved, new Defense Minister Aden Duale has insisted, noting that Kenya will work closely with the African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] to ensure that the objectives are achieved.

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Duale, an enthusiast of Somali nationalism, said the Kenyan troops have played an important role in instilling professionalism in the Somali National Army [SNA] which is supposed to take over from ATMIS is about security once Al-Shabaab militants are completely neutralized.

There are close to 3,500 KDF troops serving in ATMIS and participants work on a rotating basis for a year according to KDF peacekeeping mission doctrines. For example, the contingent that will serve in 2023 has already been trained for deployment that will take place early next year.

“We will be in that country to restore peace and once that is done we will move out of Mogadishu. However, there is already a drawdown of the exit plan, starting with the TCC which has more soldiers than Uganda. But then the KDF: s entry into Somalia, the al-Shabaab militia has not yet been suppressed,” Duale said in a recent interview. “Our commitment is based on national security, and we believe we have registered some achievements in reducing the number of attacks.”

Duale, a close ally of Somalia’s former president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, expressed Kenya’s readiness to work with Somalia, saying “they have shown us the good will to work with President William Ruto’s government and we have embraced them accordingly. As Govt. .”

“Although it is true that on a personal level Farmajo is a friend, I do not support individual leaders, but I always work with the current government. I also know President Hassan. We do not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. We deal with them only on the basis of mutual interest and good neighbourliness,” he said.

His commitment came hours before the lone Al-Shabaab gunman stormed a KDF Forward Operating Base on Monday, killing at least three soldiers and wounding five others. Although the number of Kenyan soldiers who have died in the war is small, over 400 are believed to have already died with the El-Adde and Kulbiyow attacks being the worst.

But in return, KDF troops have significantly changed the country’s fortunes by helping liberate the strategic city of Kismayo, Jubaland’s regional administrative capital that once housed the militants in addition to being their main tax collection center according to the US.

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