Kenya disputes UN claim KDF killed 40 civilians in Somalia

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in Somalia. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in Somalia. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Kenyan government is disputing allegations in a new United Nations report that its forces were responsible for 40 civilian deaths in Somalia during a 22-month period ending in mid-October.

The report issued on Sunday states that air strikes carried out by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) were “allegedly responsible for 42 civilian casualties (36 killed, six injured)”.

The UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (Unsom) and the UN Human Rights Office, which jointly compiled the report, attribute those deaths and injuries to KDF units not affiliated with the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).

Kenya’s Amisom contingent is meanwhile said in the report to have killed four Somali civilians and injured five others.

“Ultimately, civilians are paying the price for failure to resolve Somalia’s conflicts through political means,” said Unsom chief Michael Keating. “And parties to the conflict are simply not doing enough to shield civilians from the violence. This is shameful.”

The report emphasises, however, that Al-Shabaab is responsible for the largest share of civilian casualities in Somalia, including the 512 deaths resulting from explosions in Mogadishu on October 14.

In a formal response appended to the 56-page report, the Kenya embassy in Mogadishu disputes allegations of the KDF responsibility for any civilian casualties in Somalia.
Specifically, the response on behalf of the Kenyan government denies that there are Kenyan units in Somalia operating outside of Amisom’s aegis.