President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday said Kenya Defence Forces will stay in Somalia until security is restored despite budget cuts signalling the start of the soldiers’ withdrawal slated for next July.
Mr Kenyatta spoke at the Recruits Training School in Eldoret where he presided over the passing-out parade.
Kenya gets a refund for its soldiers in Somalia and expects Sh8.5 billion in the financial year starting next July.
However, the compensation from the UN is expected to drop to Sh5 billion and Sh3.5 billion in the next two years to June 2015, indicating gradual reduction of troops. “To secure Kenya and our region, our forces will continue joint operations with the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom)," Mr Kenyatta said.
Kenya sent 4,660 soldiers to Somalia in October 2011 after incessant attacks and kidnapping of civilians by the militants within its territory.
The African Union is keen on all the troops withdrawing by December 2020, but Kenya wants a delayed exit.
Al Shabaab conducts frequent assaults in Kenya, mostly in the region bordering Somalia, to put pressure on the Kenyan government to withdraw its peacekeeping troops from Somalia.
The African Union wants the Somalia army to take over responsibility for the country's security. The international community pays $1,028 (Sh103,828) for each soldier per month, their respective governments then deducts about $200 (Sh20,200) for administrative costs, leaving them with a take-home of about $800 (Sh83,628).