- “ We are very clear and we are going to send a compelling message to al Shabaab that they are not going to reverse the gains we have made."
- ATMIS has started to the drawdown of troops amid fears the terror group may take over some of the vacated places.
President William Ruto has indicated Kenya Defence Force troops in Somalia may stay there longer beyond the drawdown timetable.
Ruto said the frontline states- Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia- have decided to stay on the course beyond the set timelines so that they don’t lose the gains made so far.
“We have decided as the frontline states- Uganda, Kenya, Sudan- that we are going to stay on this course and if necessary and we think it is necessary we are going to stay beyond the drawdown timetable so that we don’t lose what we have achieved merely because we have walked away from a situation and allowed al Shabaab back into the equation or into the theatre.”
“ We are very clear and we are going to send a compelling message to al Shabaab that they are not going to reverse the gains we have made in the last couple of years,” he said.
He said the al Shabaab terror group is trying to reposition itself after the start of the withdrawal of African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) troops to create the impression that they will take over the region.
Ruto made the remarks in an interview with France 24 and vowed they would confront the terror group.
“The challenge of al Shabaab we have to confront it. We intend and have every chance to defeat al Shabaab,” Ruto said.
The terror group has increased attacks in Kenya in a renewed trend that has left more than 30 people dead in the past month alone near the Kenya-Somalia border.
The latest incident happened in Lamu on Saturday night where five people were killed in an attack.
Four of the men had their throats slit while one was shot at close range. The attackers also burnt down houses in the area before escaping with food.
Kenyan troops who are under ATMIS are in Somalia to pursue and suppress the activities of the terror group. Somalia has not had a stable government after the fall of Siad Barre in 1991.
ATMIS has started to drawdown of troops amid fears the terror group may take over some of the vacated places.
The drawdown of 2,000 troops in compliance with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions has seen two Forward Operating Basea (FOB) handed over to the Somalia National Army.
The resolution mandates ATMIS to draw down 2000 soldiers by the end of June 2023. This has raised fears amid increased attacks by terrorists in the areas.