By Abdiaziz Loyal – Mogadishu, Somalia, Friday, March 6, 2020.
Kenyan government is planning the coming days to start talks on its troops’ exit plans (AMISOM) the African Union Mission in Somalia.
Kenya’s Minister of Defence, Monica Juma was leading the meeting and the agenda included AMISOM withdrawal from Somalia by 2021, the year in which the peacekeeping and enforcement mission is expected to close down its operations in Somalia.
The negotiations aim to end about eight years of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) incursion in Somalia in which the presence of forces potentially reduced possible terrorist attacks as well as exposed Kenyans to varied reasons behind terrorism.
Kenyan forces crossed into Somalia on October 16, 2011. The objective was to destroy and degrade Al-Shabaab, but Somalia accused Kenyan several times of violations against its sovereignty after Kenya gave support to the Jubbaland Administration which has no relation to the federal government of Somalia.
Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta has warned Somalia to desist from provoking Kenya. This comes a day after Mandera residents were forced to flee after fierce clashes erupted between Somalia troops and Jubaland forces in Bulla Hawa, a town in Gedo, and headquarters of Somali Beled Hawo District.
Heavy gunfire and explosions coupled with black smoke could be seen emanating from Bulla Hawa in Somalia which borders Mandera town. Uhuru said Somalia should manage the affairs for the welfare of its people by defeating terrorism and advancing the cause of peace, security, and stability in the region.
“The baseless accusations and invalid allegations made by Somalia that Kenya is interfering with Somalia’s internal affairs are part of a growing and persistent pattern of ill intent to use Kenya as a scapegoat,” he said.
Tensions were high between Mogadishu and regional authorities in Kismayo during elections in Jubbaland, along the Kenyan border, in August.
There was a small clash in neighbouring Gedo earlier this year and what Hunter described as a “politically motivated offensive diverting resources” from fighting al Shabaab.