KDF commander hands over office in Somalia amid FGS fueling crisis in Jubaland
MOGADISHU, Somalia - A senior Kenya Defense Forces [KDF] AMISOM commander handed officer on Tuesday in Dhobley, despite the ongoing standoff in Jubaland state, AU Mission in Somalia said.
Brig. Dickson Rutto, who has been in charge of 8th KDF contingent, passed the baton to Brig. Paul Njema, as part of the troops' rotational policy.
Last month, over 3,000 KDF troops serving in the 8th contingent left the fragile nation after one year of service, paving the way to 9th contingent, AMISOM reported.
KDF soldiers man Sector II and Six in Jubaland state, which traditionally faced Al-Shabaab menace given the expensive network for the militants in the region.
The handing over ceremony took place at Dhobley town, the headquarters of AMISOM Sector II in Jubaland, reports indicated.
Usually, the commander is tasked to oversee smooth transition when a new contingent is taking over, thus Rutto's prolonged stay in Somalia.
Both Rutto and Njema expressed confidence in pursuit got peace and stability in Somalia, besides hailing the outgoing team for executing successful operations.
Brig. Rutto noted that his contingent had initiated several Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) projects and urged the incoming contingent to complete the projects for the benefit of both the local communities and the troops.
“We have cleared roads, sunk boreholes, and provided medical support to our dear Somali brothers and sisters. We know this can only be improved,” he noted.
According to him, the KDF team has managed to successfully degrade the militants in Dhobley and it's environs, calling for further efforts to consolidate the territories still under Al-Shabaab.
Brig. Njema saluted his predecessor for a great job and pledged to build on the achievements of the outgoing contingent. “We shall not stop until the AMISOM mandate of achieving peace is achieved,” said Brig. Njema.
Kenya first deployed its military in Somalia in 2011 under Linda Nchi Operation before the troops were absorbed into the African Union Mission in Somalia.
Despite liberating numerous towns like Kismayo, the troops have suffered fatalities following deadly attacks at their El Adde and Kulbiyow army bases, officials said.
But Rutto's exit comes at the time SNA troops have taken over Balad-Hawo and Dolow districts in Gedo region, further escalating tensions in the region.
Somalia has been accusing KDF of "protecting" Jubaland administration, arguing that such moves amount to "internal interference of political processes in Somalia".
There is fear about possible fallout in AMISOM since FGS is enjoying the backing of Ethiopian troops in the fight to control Gedo while Jubaland forces work closely with KDF.