The Kenya Defence Forces withdrawal from Somalia is expected by 2017. This is according to Somalia Foreign Affairs Minister, Abdisalaan Omar who said the withdrawal of the troops according to the AMISOM treaty was slotted for 2017.
Abdisalaan said that the Kenya Defence Forces had stabilized the war-stricken country since their entry in 2011. The Kenyan troops invaded the Al-Shabaab infested Somalia in October, 2011 on the approval of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia to help fight the militants as they were a joint threat to both countries.
The Kenya Defence Forces entered Somalia with a single aim of expelling the Al-Shabaab from the region. The troops have achieved major milestones during their incursion and optimism is expressed by the Somalia government on the country’s future as a stable state.
The Kenyan Defence Forces have been able to reduce the Al-Qaeda affiliated group to ‘running militants’ as they recaptured all their strong holds including their headquarters and core in the Port of Kismayo. They have also helped the Somali Army to maintain the recaptured towns and areas and shun away the Islamists.
The expected Kenya Defence Forces withdrawal will be preceded by their aid to the Somali Army to strengthen it to evade making the Operation Linda Nchi efforts futile. The slow and smooth transition is expected to take two years. The immediate withdrawal of the Kenyan troops as is being advocated by some the Kenyan legislators will be premature seeing as all necessary apparatus have not been put in place.
Every state has a mandatory duty to protect its citizenry, uphold its culture and maintain its sovereignty Kenya notwithstanding. Kenya is taking very bold steps in fulfilling its statutory obligation to its populace.
In addition to retaining its army in Somali, the Kenyan government is erecting a security perimeter wall separating Kenya and Somalia in a bid to prevent entry of arms and the Al-Shabaab militants who have no permanent base. The security wall that will cut across 4 counties that touch Somalia will aid in the monitoring the flow of immigrants from Somalia and by extension the Al-Shabaab and is estimated to take a year.
Kenya Defence Forces withdrawal from Somalia should therefore not be rushed and it should be done in due course maintaining that the withdrawal will have a lot of repercussions if done hurriedly. The withdrawal should be at such a time that the efforts and lives of the fallen soldiers don’t go to waste and once a last solution to the Al-Shabaab menace has been found.