Kenya & US Chart Way Forward Moments After Somalia Requests Withdrawal of UNSOM Forces

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Kenya’s Defence Secretary, Aden Duale has stated that he and Michael Hammer, the United States Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa (SEHOAUS) held a crucial meeting on Thursday evening.

Duale stated that the meeting revolved around deliberating the security arrangements in Somalia after the withdrawal of peace-keeping forces in the country.

“The meeting was specifically deliberating on the security arrangements in Somalia post-Atmis. It was related to maintaining peace and security, with its longstanding commitment to peacekeeping and counterterrorism efforts,” stated Duale.

Interestingly, the meeting followed Somalia’s surprising request to have the United Nations peacekeeping mission UNSOM from the country by October 2024.

Officers from the Border Police Unit (BPU) patrolling the Kenya – Somalia border in August 2022.

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AP

In a letter dated May 5, 2023, the Republic of Somalia through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that while they appreciated the UN’s efforts in the longstanding mission, they were looking forward to transitioning to a different level of cooperation.

“As a result of the successful collaboration between the Government of Somalia and the United Nations Mission, we believe that it is now appropriate to transition to the next phase of our partnership. We are confident that the achievements and lessons learned during the mission’s presence will continue to guide our efforts towards sustaining peace and prosperity,” stated Somalia.

The withdrawal of the forces request is reported to have found the UN by surprise, given that the country had earlier requested an extension period for the forces to be in the country.

However, in the new development, Somalia has stated that the mission should be wrapped as  swiftly as possible

“We kindly request the swift conclusion of the necessary procedures for the termination of the Mission by the end of the mandate in October 2024,” stated Somalia.

Kenya on the other hand, had previously stated that they would be withdrawing their forces by the end of 2024.

With the withdrawal of the forces, there have been concerns about an increase in insecurity within the East African region.

However, Somalia has maintained their belief that the country is adequately equipped to  manage the nation’s security.

Several soldiers from the US Army on top of military vehicles

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US Army



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