KDF gets Sh9bn for war in Somalia

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KDF officers in Somalia. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Reimbursements to Kenya for troops fighting Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia for last financial year surpassed the target after the European Union (EU) and its partners wired nearly Sh5.6 billion between April and June.

The Treasury says in the latest exchequer statistics total disbursements topped Sh8.94 billion, marginally exceeding revised Sh8.74 billion by 2.37 percent.

The cash released in the final quarter of the financial year to June 2021 was higher than nearly Sh3.35 billion in the prior three quarters through March.

The grants to Kenya in the review period, the highest since the Treasury started making the data public, represent a 92.78 percent jump over Sh4.64 billion a year earlier.

The refunds, paid through the African Union Peace Facility to the Defence ministry, are expected to fall to Sh2.5 billion in the current financial year ending June 2022 as the UN-backed December date for the start of gradual exit of the soldiers from war-torn Somalia draws closer.

“The Amisom reimbursements used to be appropriations in aid. But we agreed to fund the Kenya Defence Forces operations in Somalia from the Exchequer and thereafter the Defence ministry makes refunds to the National Treasury once they receive money from African Union,” Treasury Principal Secretary Julius Muia told lawmakers last month.

Security reforms

The 15-member African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council on May 11 extended Amisom’s stay in Somalia to December 31 from an earlier date of March 14 after the country failed to conduct a presidential poll in February.

The move by the AU’s top decision-making organ on conflict management and prevention was in line with the UN Security Council’s resolution on March 12, reauthorising Amisom to maintain its 19,626 troops in Somalia.

The UN had called on Somalia and its partners to work towards “Somali-led political and security reforms to ensure the transition of security responsibilities agreed by the Somali authorities, the Somali security forces, and Amisom from the outset”.

The EU funds largely cover allowances for the Amisom troops and police, international and local civilian staff salaries, and operational costs of their offices.

The United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), for its part, provides 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.

Full costs

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.

Conservative estimates show the international community pays $1,028 (Sh112,463) for each soldier per month.

Their respective governments then deduct about $200 (Sh20,882) for administrative costs, meaning the soldiers take home about $800 (Sh87,528).