Kenya Defense Forces working under AMISOM in Somalia will after all have to stay in the war torn country longer that it was expected, it has emerged.
Tentatively, Defense headquarters had proposed 2021 as the strategic year for pullout, expecting that by then, Somalia National Army would have been trained to take over.
But on Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta maintained that KDF shall continue working in Somalia under AMISOM until peace and stability is realised.
His statement comes amid increased attacks within Somalia. Recently, Al-Shabaab militants attacked a hotel in Kismayo, killing over 26 people.
“President Kenyatta stated that the Kenya Defence Forces will continue playing its role in regional and international security with more vigour adding that KDF will continue supporting the quest for peace and stabilization of Somalia under AMISOM,” he said.
Kenya lost bid to have Al-Shabaab listed as terrorists group, a move that was also opposed by Somalia and United States in the UN Security Council.
Somalia permanent representative to UN Ambassador Dahir Osman accused Kenya of promoting Al-Shabaab operations by failing to implement existing guidelines.
“[We] urge [the] Kenyan government to implement existing Security Council resolution 751 targeting AS (al-Shabaab), including the ban of illegal charcoal trade in Somalia, which is the lifeline of AS to finance its operations in the region,” Mr Osman .
Also, the two countries are embroiled in Indian Ocean maritime border dispute, with Kenya recently threatening to deploy KDF along the disputed area.
In August, KDF fallout with Ethiopian troops was eminent after the former reportedly backed re-election of Sheikh Ahmed Madobe as Jubbaland president.