Kenyan President ” KDF to stay in Somalia until Kenya is secure “

President Uhuru Kenyatta has insisted Kenyan troops will remain in Somalia to complete the “objective” of securing the country before returning home.

In a briefing with journalists in Nairobi on Tuesday night, the President who has left the country for London to attend a conference on Somalia, argued Kenyan troops will not leave Somalia until Somali’s can protect themselves.

“Amisom (African Union Mission in Somalia), are not there because we have any other agenda but security,” he said referring to the African Union Mission to which Kenya Defence Forces are a part.

“Amisom is a forum that neighbours entered to provide security. [Of course] Somalia should be defended and protected by the Somalis themselves, but you cannot exit without securing Somalia. That is an objective which we set ourselves to achieve,” he argued.

But Mogadishu still largely relies on Amisom for security against al-Shabaab. The mission, created in 2007, includes 3664 troops from Kenya. Other countries includes Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti and Ethiopia.

Amisom had indicated it would start a progressive withdrawal from Somalia ahead of 2020, as donors support the training and re-establishment of Somalia’s security agencies.

President Kenyatta argues, despite his opponents’ call to an earlier withdrawal of troops, that leaving Mogadishu without a proper security system will create room for the return of terrorists.

The President who left Nairobi on Wednesday morning is expected to meet with various other leaders within the UN and donor countries supporting Somalia’s rebuilding programme which targets 2020 as the year Somalis should have one-person-one-vote elections.

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