Voice of America (Washington, DC)

31 January 2014

Somalia: Kenya to Reduce Troops in Somalia's Kismayo

Kenyan troops will reduce their presence in the Somali city of Kismayo, after Somalia's government complained the troops were interfering with its attempts to assert authority.

A senior Kenyan military official told VOA on Friday that Kenya is handing over its security duties in Kismayo to forces from Sierra Leone.

The official, who did not want to be named, said only about 200 Kenyan troops would remain in the port city. The official also said Burundi was sending forces to Kismayo.

Kenya sent forces into Somalia in 2011 to help the country fight the al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab, after al-Shabab carried out a series of bombings and kidnapping in Kenya.

The militant group at one point controlled large parts of Somalia, including Kismayo, but was pushed out of major cities by African Union forces and the Somali government.

The Kenyan troops have been providing security in Kismayo as part of the multi-nation AU force.

Kenya and Somalia have been at odds over the administration of Kismayo and its lucrative port. Kenyan troops have been accused of backing one militia against others in deadly fighting there.

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