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Kenyan soldiers serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), sit on a flat-bed truck as a convoy makes its way between the port of Kismayu and the city’s airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The European Union and its partners reimbursed Kenya nearly Sh2.54 billion for troops fighting Al-Shabaab militia in Somalia in the nine months to March 2022, missing the target for the period by seven percent.

The Treasury data shows grants from the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) — whose mandate ended in March — missed its target of Sh2.73 billion by Sh191 million.

The quarterly disbursements were, however, Sh811 million, or 24.23 percent, lower than Sh3.35 billion which were reimbursed in a similar period in the prior financial year.

The United Nations Security Council at the end of March voted for a transitional African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia after it reconfigured the operations of Amisom which has been in the war-torn country for about 15 years.

Somalia finally conducted a presidential poll on May 15— after being delayed for more than a year— electing former leader Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to serve for four years. Mr Mohamud, who defeated the incumbent Mohamed Abudallahi Farmajo, had previously led Somalia between 2012 and 2017.

Under the Amisom, the EU funds largely catered for allowances for the about 20,000 Amisom troops and police, international and local civilian staff salaries and operational costs of their offices. 

The United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), on the other hand, provided logistical field support to the Amisom troops and Somali National Security Forces during joint operations.

Kenya formally sent about 4,660 soldiers to Somalia in October 2011 after incessant attacks and kidnapping of civilians by Al-Shabaab militants within its territory, numbers which have since been gradually trimmed.

A year later, the UN Security Council gave Kenya the green light to join Amisom, a decision that meant the Treasury would not bear the full costs of the incursion.

Treasury Principal Secretary Julius Muia told lawmakers last July that the exchequer funds Kenya Defence Forces operations in Somalia, cash which the Defence ministry refunds once they are wired by the African Union.

The refunds are paid through the African Union Peace Facility to the Defence ministry.

Conservative estimates earlier showed the international community pays $1,028 (Sh119,248 under prevailing forex rates) for each soldier per month.

Their respective governments then deduct about $200 (Sh23,200) for administrative costs, meaning the soldiers take home about $800 (Sh92,800).

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), in the book titled "War for Peace: Kenya’s Military in the African Mission in Somalia, 2011-2020"— published May 8, 2020 — suggests that reforming the Somali National Army to take charge of sustainable peace should be the first pillar of the exit plan. By CONSTANT MUNDA, Business Daily

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