Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) will withdraw its troops from Somalia in 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced.
The announcement, made five years after Kenya first deployed soldiers to battle al-Shabaab in Somalia, was made through Secretary of State John Kerry, who was in Nairobi yesterday to hold talks with foreign affairs ministers in the region on the situation in South Sudan.
“Somalia is now experiencing improved security after being ravaged by civil war for more than two decades and for this, Kenya will withdraw its troops,” Uhuru was quoted as saying early today.
KDF soldiers have been part of the African Mission in Somalia (Amisom) troops sent into the horn of Africa nation to bring peace as well as fight the al-Shabaab militant group.
Kenya deployed her troops to Somalia in October 2011 under the Operation Linda Nchi following a spate of kidnappings and attacks by al-Shabaab on Kenyan soil.
Kenya becomes the second Amisom troop-contributing country to announce the withdrawal of her troops from the war-ravaged Horn of Africa country.
In June this year Uganda’s Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) General Edward Katumba Wamala said the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) would withdraw her troops from Somalia by December next year.
Uganda, which provides the biggest contingent to Amisom, first deployed in Somalia in March 2007.
Meanwhile, Somalia is scheduled to elect a new president next month that will be conducted among lawmakers because the electoral commission in the country does not have the capacity to conduct a nationwide vote.