Kenyan President William Ruto has announced that the government will withdraw its troops from Somalia to allow the country to take responsibility for its security.
Speaking during the launch of the State of Migration in East and Horn of Africa Report at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Ruto stated that the troops, who work under the framework of the African Union Mission in Somalia, will exit in 2024.
He further revealed that the number of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers serving in Somalia will be reduced.
“We are working with our brothers and sisters in Somalia. Even as the drawdown of troops is expected next year, we have a concrete plan on how Somalia is going to move on as a state.” Ruto said.
Part of the plan, according to the President, involves various nations working with Somalia before fully withdrawing the troops.
The announcement follows Kenya’s sustained military involvement in Somalia since 2011, when the KDF were deployed to pursue the insurgent group Al Shabaab.
Kenyan soldiers are among those deployed to Somalia, operating under the African Union Mission in Somalia. The KDF was deployed in Somalia during former President Mwai Kibaki’s regime, and the Kenyan government agreed to work under the African Union Mission in Somalia one month later.
The withdrawal of Kenyan troops from Somalia is a significant development in the East African region and could have significant implications for the ongoing conflict in Somalia.
Al-Shabaab has carried out numerous attacks in Kenya in recent years, including the 2013 Westgate shopping mall attack and the 2015 Garissa college attack.
Kenya’s decision to withdraw its troops from Somalia is likely driven by several factors, including political, financial, and strategic considerations.