KDF's Plan to Exit Somalia Suffers Setback

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in a peacekeeping mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Wednesday November 16, 2022
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in a peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Wednesday, November 16, 2022.
KDF Kenya

Kenya Defences Forces (KDF) will have to wait longer before withdrawing its forces from Somalia.

The delayed withdrawal of Kenyan troops was occasioned by the African Union's decision to keep their forces in Somalia due to the growing Al Shabaab resurgence.

African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (Atmis) resolved to slow down the withdrawal plans for six months.

The delayed withdrawal will allow the forces to adequately support the Somali National Army in tackling the extremist group. 

KDF soldiers being flagged off to DRC on November 12, 2022
KDF soldiers being flagged off to DRC on November 12, 2022.

The decision to extend their stay followed a council meeting which was held on Wednesday, November 23.

"AU confirms support for the FGS (Federal Government of Somalia) request to extend the Atmis Phase 1 reconfiguration for the drawdown of 2,000 Atmis troops from 31 December 2022 to 30 June 2023, as a slight revision of the operational timeline, while reconfirming the commitment to maintain the exit date of 31 December 2024 by Atmis," the council stated.

AU was set to gradually withdraw over 2,000 troops starting December to allow other contributing forces, including KDF and soldiers from Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda and Burundi, to exit by December 2023.

However, AU insisted that the new withdrawal plan will be published by February 2023.

In September 2022, President William Ruto insisted that KDF soldiers stay in Somalia until their mission was finished.

Defending the move, Ruto stated that their presence in Somalia was key to protecting Kenya's stability.

"Those troops will come back home as soon as they are done with the assignment they have in Somalia," Ruto stated.

"It has been 15 years, and I appreciate that, we have been there with many partners. I think there is light on the horizon with the election of President Hassan Mohamud who I have met twice," he added.

KDF moved to Somalia in November 2011 under Lindi Nchi's (Protect the country) operation. The decision to send Kenya forces to the neighbouring country was to tackle the Al Shabaab insurgence.

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