NAIROBI, Kenya – Lloyd Austin arrived in Nairobi on Monday afternoon for bilateral engagements with his Kenyan counterpart, Aden Duale. The two senior ministers are also expected to sign a Defence Agreement that will enhance security in East Africa and the Horn of Africa.
At Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Duale and senior officers from the Department of Defence welcomed Lloyd Austin III, along with Chief of Defense Forces of the Republic of Kenya, Gen. Francis Ogolla. Gen. Ogolla, appointed by President William Ruto in April this year, led the welcoming committee.
During his visit to Kenya, Austin will discuss regional challenges with security teams and strengthen defense cooperation with the East African nation. Kenya is home to the US Naval Base at Manda Bay, located in the troubled county of Lamu.
“Kenya and the United States are proud partners in the fight against terrorism and the promotion of democracy,” said Lloyd Austin III, who recently held discussions with President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia.
“This visit highlights the importance of our bilateral defense relationship as we work together to address regional challenges,” he added, emphasizing the significance of his trip to Africa, which will conclude in Luanda, the capital of Angola, a former Portuguese colony in Central Africa.
The United States has been a crucial military ally of Kenya, particularly in the joint efforts to combat Al-Shabaab. When former US President Donald Trump authorized the withdrawal of US Africa Command troops from Somalia, many were reassigned to Kenya.
Following their redeployment last year, a significant number of troops remained in Northeastern Kenya, working closely with Kenyan Defence Forces along the Kenya-Somalia border. Others are stationed at the Manda Bay Naval Base, which was targeted by Al-Shabaab militants in 2023, resulting in the death of three individuals, including a soldier.
In Somalia, the US has played a crucial role in the fight against the Al-Qaeda-linked group by training and equipping the Danab Special Forces, a contingent of the Somali National Army [SNA]. Additionally, US Africa Command provides aerial surveillance support to combat troops during operations in Somalia.