Nairobi, August 17, 2013 – ?The Kenyan soldiers in Somalia are neither engaged in local politics nor business and are only there to fight terrorism, the Defence Cabinet Secretary said Thursday.
Ms Raychelle Omamo said the Kenya Defence Forces was a disciplined military, whose mandate in Somalia was to fight terrorist groups that posed a threat to Kenya.
The troops would only leave once peace was restored in the troubled country, and which would be of strategic importance to Kenya.
The KDF has liberated large swathes of southern Somalia from Al-Shabaab, including seizing the strategic Kismayu Port, but has been accused of propping up some warlords and seeking to control the lucrative charcoal trade, the lifeline of local militias.
?The KDF is a disciplined force, which has conducted itself to the highest standards and has not in any way been engaged in local politics or trade,? she said.
The KDF is now part of the stabilising force under Amisom that will remain in the country, until a multinational force is ready to take charge, as the regional Heads of State Summit held in Kampala resolved recently.
Thursday, Ms Omamo said the situation in Somalia was still not stable enough to allow the withdrawal of the Kenyans troops.
?We will push for a strategic withdrawal that will ensure sustainable peace and security, not only in Somalia, but also in the region,? she said.
The minister was speaking during the 15th ordinary meeting of the committee of East African chiefs of defence staff in Nairobi.
Source: Daily Nation