10 July 2018

Kenya MP Files Petition to Pull KDF Out of War-Torn Somalia

An MP has petitioned National Assembly to order the immediate withdrawal of Kenya Defence Forces from war-torn Somalia. Mandera East lawmaker Omar Maalim wants the soldiers who have been in Somalia for seven years recalled.

He says they should be deployed to secure the country's 'porous' borders instead.

The petition, if successful, will see the more than 4,000 KDF officers battling terror group al Shabaab back in the country after nearly seven years in the troubled land.

He acknowledged the initial government intention to deploy KDF to Somalia was in the interest of peace. "We are concerned this objective is no longer being achieved, with Kenya suffering more terror attacks from al Shabaab than before," Omar said.

KDF was deployed to Somalia in 2011 under the Operation Linda Nchi initiative.

Since then, Omar says, Kenya has born the brunt of terror attacks on police stations, vehicles and religious gatherings, resulting into loss of lives and properties.

He cited the 2013 Westgate attack that claimed 67 lives, Mpeketoni attacks of 2014 where 60 people were butchered and the 2015 Garissa University attack where 149 students were killed.

The war has been costly to Kenya as billions of shillings have been razed in the war. Many soldiers families are still mourning the death of their sons.

Police records put at 155 the number of terror related attacks in the country since 2012.

The attacks are concentrated in Nairobi, Garissa, Wajir and Mandera. Omar said the move to put KDF under the Afica Union Mission in Somalia has worsened the situation as Kenyan soldiers lost control of deployment of troops in Somalia.

"The secondary effects of the terror attacks have included decline of health, education, economy and living standards due to desertion by health workers, teachers and other migrant workers."

The government has insisted KDF soldiers will continue staying in the neighbouring country until they flush out the terror group.

The petition was filed on June 25 and will be formally presented when the House resumes from its two-week recess.

In May, Ainabkoi MP William Chepkut called for a review of the strategies KDF uses to fight terrorists as many of them have been killed in Somalia. Chepkut said the government needs to employ modern security strategies and equipment.

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