No foreign soldier will be in Somalia by December 2024 – Kenyan minister Aden Duale said. The Defence Cabinet Secretary has revealed that Kenyan troops in Somalia will formally withdraw from the country by the end of next year. Duale believes they have accomplished their mission.
Nairobi, KENYA. By Yahya:
During a recent TV interview, the Defence Secretary explained the rationale behind the ongoing troop withdrawal: “We are coming out of Somalia because the UN [United Nations], AU [African Union], and Somali government felt they have generated enough forces. The Somali National Army is ready to protect their country.”
Duale clarified that not just the Kenyan troops but all foreign forces serving under the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) will leave the country. “By the end of 2024, no more ATMIS troops will be in Somalia,” he stated.
FOBs along the border
As part of the withdrawal plan, Kenya will deploy troops to forward operating bases (FOBs) in buffer zones along the border to prevent any potential infiltration by al-Shabaab. “We are coming back to our border so that in the event al-Shabaab becomes stronger, we will still protect our people,” Duale explained. As of now, Kenya closed about fourteen FOBs along the 800-kilometre border stretch from Kiunga to Mandera.
In a statement last year, the (then) Deputy President William Ruto indicated that KDF would only leave Somalia once it accomplishes its mission. He reiterated that Somalia’s instability directly affects Kenya’s security. “I think there is light on the horizon with the election of President Hassan Mohamud,” Ruto remarked at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last year.
Kenya’s military involvement in Somalia, initially known as ‘Operation Linda Nchi,’ was declared in October 2011. The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) entered Somalia to combat the extremist group al-Shabaab, and to create a buffer zone between the two countries. Formally, the soldiers completed this mission in March 2012. However, they subsequently joined the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), an initiative of the African Union.