Kenyan Defense Minister Aden Duale announced Kenya’s decision to gradually withdraw its troops from Somalia, in line with African Union plans and the UN Security Council resolution.
Kenyan Defense Minister Aden Duale announced on Thursday that all Kenya Defense Force troops will withdraw from Somalia by December 31, 2024. This decision follows a gradual withdrawal that began in April 2021, in accordance with the plans of the African Union (AU) and the UN Security Council resolution.
4,000 Kenyan soldiers currently deployed in Somalia
The withdrawal concerns the 4,000 Kenyan troops currently deployed in Somalia as part of the African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). In total, 2,000 soldiers from this mission have already left Somalia, including contingents from Ethiopia, Uganda, and Kenya, as well as soldiers from Djibouti and Burundi.
The Kenyan intervention in Somalia in 2011 was a response to kidnappings orchestrated by the terrorist group Al-Shabab, which posed a serious threat to Somalia and the stability of the entire East African region. Kenyan troops have worked alongside other ATMIS forces to fight Al-Shabab, helping to weaken the terrorist group and restore some stability to parts of Somalia.
The Minister of Defense praised the efforts of his troops, but recalled the sacrifices made. Hundreds of Kenyan soldiers lost their lives during this mission, although the exact number has not been disclosed. Duale stressed that the government had fully compensated the families of the victims.
Initially, Kenya had postponed a plan to withdraw 754 soldiers until September 30, highlighting the need to support Somali forces in their fight against Al-Shabab, particularly in central Somalia. Continued cooperation with international partners remains crucial in this endeavor.