Kenya has ruled out the withdrawal of its troops from Somalia despite the frosty relations being witnessed between the two nations lately.
Defense Cabinet Secretary Dr. Monica Juma said that the Kenyan soldiers in Somalia were deployed under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and in order for them to be withdrawn, the matter would have to be ratified by the United Nations Security Council.
Speaking when she accompanied United Kingdom Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace at the British Army Training Unit in Kenya (Batuk) in Nanyuki during the opening of Nyati barracks, Juma maintained that it is not for Kenya to decide on the withdrawal of the security troops, adding that AMISOM operations were ongoing because they are not defined by bilateral relations.
“The withdrawal is the mandate of the African Union- (AU) which is the authorizing agency, it is not us to decide when to get in or out,” Juma told journalists after a tour of Nyati barracks.
Get breaking news on your Mobile as-it-happens. SMS ‘NEWS’ to 20153
Juma and Wallace noted that Kenyan troops have been in Somalia long enough and have learnt a lot from terror groups such as Al Shabaab and share the same with the British troops training in the country who also in turn share their military experiences of their excursions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“Putting that knowledge together and joint training personnel helps keep Kenyans safe when they are doing this job because the bombers are crafty, clever, and dangerous,” said Wallace.
Wallace added that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the last team of visiting troops from the UK arrived on Sunday, noting that there are about 200 troops who are permanently based in Nanyuki.
“It’s an exciting future we’re holding as well as we view Kenya as a standard-bearer of top quality professionalism in its military, in the region of shared values and also that we have a shared enemy- the Al Shabaab who target Kenyans, tourists and all the values we stand for,” Wallace added.
The Secretary of state for defense added that now that both Kenya and the UK were members of the United Nations Security Council, they would work closely to ensure stability in the Horn of Africa and the entire East Africa region.
“Britain and Kenya are now together this year on the Security Council. Britain is the Chair while Kenya has taken up its place on the same, that’s good news, and we’ve jointly gone through the four priorities for Kenya that is climate change, counter-terrorism, nation-building and regional stability and that’s where Britain agrees completely with Kenya,” Wallace said.