Kenya’s Refunds for KDF Troops in Somalia See a 93% Surge, Totaling Sh6.9bn

Kenya's Refunds For Kdf Troops In Somalia See A 93% Surge, Totaling Sh6.9bn

Kenya has received a reimbursement of Sh6.98 billion for its troops’ efforts in combating Al-Shabaab militia in Somalia. This marks a 93 percent increase from the previous year and coincides with Kenya’s plan to withdraw from the peacekeeping mission in less than two years.

The refunds, provided by the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), were the second highest amount received since Kenya joined the AU-backed military operations in the neighboring country. The highest refund was recorded in the year ending June 2021, totaling Sh8.94 billion.

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The financial operations of Kenya Defence Forces in Somalia are supported by the Treasury and reimbursed by the Defence Ministry through funds received from the African Union. To date, Kenya has been reimbursed a total of Sh58.65 billion over 11 years, ending in June 2023.

Kenya initially deployed approximately 4,660 soldiers to Somalia in 2011 due to frequent attacks and kidnappings carried out by Al-Shabaab militants within its borders. The number of troops has gradually decreased since then.

In 2012, the UN Security Council authorized Kenya to join Amisom, relieving the Treasury of bearing the full costs of the incursion.

ATMIS took over from Amisom on April 1, 2022, following approval from the United Nations Security Council, concluding Amisom’s 15-year mission. ATMIS’s mandate is to collaborate with the Somali National Security Forces in achieving enduring peace and stability in the war-torn country.

The ATMIS mission is set to end in December 2024, by which time Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Burundi, and Djibouti are expected to have fully withdrawn their forces and handed over the responsibility to the Somali National Security Forces.

Defence Secretary Aden Duale recently stated that the drawdown process, overseen by the UN Security Council and AU under the Somalia Transition Plan, initiated in June with the withdrawal of 2,000 military personnel from the five contributing countries. Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia each withdrew 400 troops, Burundi withdrew 650 officers, and Djibouti withdrew 150 soldiers.

Mr Duale announced on August 16 that 3,000 troops from these contributing countries would be withdrawn from Somalia in September, with no ATMIS presence expected by December 2024.

The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), in their book titled “War for Peace: Kenya’s Military in the African Mission in Somalia, 2011-2020,” emphasized the importance of reforming the Somali National Army as a primary aspect of the AU mission’s exit strategy. The second pillar of the plan focuses on creating a “stable, peaceful, and prosperous” Jubbaland, which has experienced relative peace compared to the rest of Somalia by securing routes against Al-Shabaab.

Typically, soldiers serve for one year, although this may be extended or shortened based on the circumstances and financial operations. Previous estimates suggest that the international community pays $1,028 (approximately Sh149,060) per soldier per month. After deducting about $200 (Sh29,000) for administrative expenses, the soldiers are left with approximately $800 (Sh116,000).

Under Amisom, the EU primarily funded allowances for the approximately 20,000 Amisom troops and police, as well as the salaries of international and local civilian staff, and operational costs. The United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) provided logistical support to Amisom troops and the Somali National Security Forces during joint operations.

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