KDF troops get ready to board a plane as their rotation in Kismayo, Somalia. The troops have served in the southern city of Kismayo for over years now, as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia. AMISOM Photo/ Awil Abukar
by Ahmednor Ugas
Thursday, May 23, 2019
It is time for the Somali government to ask the African Union (AU) that Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) are no longer needed to be part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Kenya sent its military to Somalia in October 2011 in the pretext of defending its security interests and “pursuing al-Shabaab across the border.” It is worth mentioning Kenya did not get approval for the invasion from the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia at the time. Somalia’s former president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said “The Somali government and its people will not be pleased with Kenya’s intervention”. This was a deliberate attack on the sovereignty of a neighboring nation. Kenya requested to join AMISOM a year later as it could not afford continue the operation because of the costs associated. Kenyan troops now serve as AMISOM’s sector 2 comprising 3664 troops based in Kismayo and other nearby cities.
The motives of Kenya’s invasion to Somalia was different from what it said when Kenya launched its operation as secret cables revealed by WikiLeaks showed Kenya has been planning to invade to Somalia since 2007and occupy Jubba land region in southern Somalia long before the threat of al-Shabaab existed. The cables also showed that the United States warned Kenya not to launch the offensive in southern Somalia fearing back lash and bad consequences.
The main goal of Kenya’s invasion was to create a mini state with in the Somali republic that serves its Interests and to explore oil and gas in the territorial waters of Somalia which Kenya claimed for years to be within its maritime boundary. Kenya has claimed the maritime area in the Indian ocean that belongs to Somalia and it sold mining licenses to international companies. It sent its military to defend those interests not to fight against al-Shabaab. Somalia protested and took the case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague which will decide who owns the sea by end of this year.
Realizing the ruling of the ICJ might give victory to Somalia, Kenya started to bully Somalia and recalled its ambassador in Mogadishu and ordered Somali ambassador to leave the country in February this year. The tension was later eased when Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abi Ahmed, intervened and led Somali president Mohamed Farmajo to Nairobi where they held talks with Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta. Its understood Kenya wanted to solve the maritime boundary dispute with negotiations outside the ICJ which Farmajo refused.
It is obvious the talks did stop Kenya to continue bullying Somalia to coerce compromise. Kenya denied entry Somali government minister and lawmakers to Kenya who were planning to attend a meeting in Nairobi. The officials were carrying diplomatic passports when they were denied entry and deported back to Mogadishu. There was no explanation of why it did so.
This is the right time for Somalia to protest to AU, UN and the international community to demand the complete withdrawal of KDF from Somalia. The troops continue to defy the mandate of AMISOM under theUN Security Council Resolution 2372(2017). KDF forces targeted and destroyed several times masts of Hormuud, Somalia’s leading telecommunication company and killed many innocent civilians. Kenyan forces continue air raids on villages and towns near the border and killed many innocent civilians. No one was held accountable for these heinous actions. Kenyan troops do not even take orders from the AMISOM task force commandment.
The Somali government must immediately take and implement these steps.
- To ban the importation of Khat (Miraa). This drug is illegal in most countries in the word. This drug falls under the Controlled Substances in many countries and is illegal to consume, sell or buy. Kenya sends 20 cargo planes carrying Miraa (Khat) to Somalia daily. These Khat exports worth of $400,000 daily. The government has to ban Khat permanently and the Somali parliament should immediately make it illegal.
- The Somali government should demand the immediate withdrawal of KDF from Somalia. They should not be part of AMISOM.
- The Somali government must request conferences concerning Somalia to be held in Somalia or somewhere other than Nairobi.
Somalia can no longer tolerate the bullying of Kenya. It is impossible for Kenya to be part of peace keeping operations in Somalia and at the same time pursue its wicked and greedy interests against the Somali people. It is time for Somalis to wake up!
This article originally posted in Somali Affairs. Click here to read original story