- 'Operation Linda Nchi' was declared in October 2011 with KDF entering Somalia to battle al-shabab.
- The soldiers completed the mission in March 2012 butjoined AMISOM, an initiative of the African Union.
The Kenyan troops deployed to Somalia are set to formally exit the country by December 2024, Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale has disclosed.
Duale said they are withdrawing the soldiers since they have 'accomplished' the mission.
"We are coming out of Somali because the UN, AU and Somali government felt they have generated enough forces. The Somali national army is ready to protect their country," said Duale.
But, he was quick to clarify that it is not only KDF that is leaving the country but all troops serving under the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).
"By the end of 2024, no more ATMIS troops will be in Somalia," he stated.
Speaking during a TV interview Wednesday night, the CS also stated that Kenya is not in Somalia as KDF but as a multi-national UN and AU force.
And, as part of measures to thwart any attempts by the Al-shabaab militants to sneak into the country, Duale said the soldiers will be deployed to the buffer zones along border.
"We are coming back to our border so that in the event the Al-shabaab becomes stronger we will still protect our people," he said.
He said they have currently closed about 14 forward operating bases (FOBs) along the 800 kilometres stretch from Kiunga to Mandera.
The government declared the 'Operation Linda Nchi' in October 2011 by deploying the troops to the country to help battle the militants.
In March 2012, the operation was declared complete but the troops remained and joined AMISOM, an initiative of the African Union.
African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) which replaced AMISOM has been in operation since April 2022.
The planned exit of the troops is an implementation of the Somali Transition Plan (STP).
Somali has already prepared 20,000 soldiers to take over after the complete withdrawal.
Speaking in September last year during an interview with France24 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, Ruto held that KDF will only leave the war-torn country after they are done with their mission.
He observed that the instability of Somalia affects Kenya.
"Those troops will come back home as soon as they are done with the assignment they have in Somalia,” he said.
He added; “We have been there with many partners. I think there is light in the horizon with the election of President Hassan Mohamud who I have met twice."