- Duale said the departure of the troops will largely depend on the success rate of the peace-keeping mission in Somalia.
- "Our commitment has always been towards the realization of peace, stability and sustainable development in Somalia for the benefit of Kenya and the region."
Defence CS Aden Duale has said that Kenya Defence Forces troops serving under the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) will leave the country in four phases.
Speaking on Wednesday, Duale said the departure of the troops will largely depend on the success rate of the peace-keeping mission in Somalia.
He said that there are no Kenya Defence Forces in Somalia, but there are KDF officers serving under ATMIS through the African Union Peace and Security Council with the approval of the United Nations Security Council.
"So the decision for Kenyan troops to exit Somalia depends on several factors including the progress of ATMIS mandate and prevailing security and political conditions in Somalia," Duale said as he responded to questions in the Senate.
"Our commitment has always been towards the realization of peace, stability and sustainable development in Somalia for the benefit of Kenya and the region."
The CS, however, noted that the departure of ATMIS troops from Somalia started in April last year, in a drawdown strategy that is aimed at gradually transferring security responsibilities to the Somali security forces.
The drawdown plan will run until December 31, 2024.
"Already, phase one of the drawdown has been completed where a total of 2,000 ATMIS forces have exited. 400 from Kenya, 400 from Uganda, 400 from Ethiopia, 600 from Burundi and 150 from Djibouti. This was completed in June this year."
Duale noted that the second phase of the drawdown, which was supposed to be done by September 31 was halted following a request by the Somalia Federal Government. Here, at least 754 Kenyan troops in ATMIS were expected to leave Somalia.
Somalia requested a three-month extension, which is awaiting approval by the AU Peace and Security Council and the UNSC.
This extension, Duale said is because the Somali government and Security forces have been engaging in a serious war with al Shabaab in the central part of Somalia.
"Phase three will commence on October 1, 2023, through to June 2024 where a total of 4,000 KDF troops will be drawn down.
"Phase four of the drawdown signifies the final exit and will take place from July 1, 2024, to December 31, 2024," Duale added.
He said that during this phase, all troops serving under ATMIS will leave Somalia.