Kenyan troops withdraw from border town in Somalia amid Al-Shabaab threat

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EL WAK, Somalia - Several Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) service members left El-wak Forward Operating Base along the border between Kenya and Somalia, consequently handing over the mandate to protect the region to the Somali National Army (SNA) which will be responsible for the security.

The KDF team from the region is leaving the country as part of the Somali Transition Plan (STP) in which the entire African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) is expected to leave the country by the end of December 2024.

The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia announced that 5,000 troops have since left the country as the third phase kicks off in the coming days. The Somali National Army has been inheriting all FOBs left by the ATMIS contingent.

"The third phase of the ATMIS Drawdown builds on the significant milestones from Phases 1 and 2. The earlier phases resulted in the reduction of 5,000 ATMIS troops and the transfer of 17 Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) to Somali Security Forces," ATMIS said.

"With the hard-won security gains consolidated, this transition phase prioritizes the operational effectiveness and readiness capabilities of Somali security forces," the statement further read.

Once the withdrawal is completed, the Somali government and the African Union are contemplating establishing a new mission that could help the Somali National Army settle as it executes security responsibilities in the country.

"In this regard, ATMIS the AU Commission, in consultations with ATMIS, the FGS, and all relevant stakeholders, to submit, by the end of July 2024, a Concept of Operations (CONOPs) that proposes a mandate and configuration for the new mission, and clear benchmarks and timelines for the transition from ATMIS to the new mission as well as the duration of the new Mission."

Recently, Somalia insisted Ethiopia should not be part of the mission until it withdraws the illegal Memorandum of Understanding with Somaliland. The existing troops come from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti, and Burundi.

GAROWE ONLINE

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