Defence Cabinet Secretary Hon. Aden Duale has affirmed the commitment of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to finding lasting peace and countering terrorism in Somalia and the entire Horn of Africa.
He said efforts are at advanced stage to have a robust Defence Agreement between the Government of Kenya and the Federal Government of Somalia to enable joint fight against terrorism, violent extremism, sharing intelligence and ensure maritime security between their common borders.
Hon. Duale made the remarks when he hosted the Minister for Defence from the Federal Government of Somalia His Excellency Abdulkadir Nur who paid him a courtesy visit at Defence Headquarters, Nairobi.
The CS affirmed that the KDF is ready to continue working with the Somalia Security Forces (SSF) to enhance Force generation and invited the SSF to train in the KDF premier training facilities as an Allied State.
“Our efforts to silence Al-Shabaab are on course and eradicating threat in our region is paramount since a secure Somalia is a secure Kenya and the entire region. Our two countries have a strong history of friendship,” said Hon. Duale.
He reiterated that enhancing the capacity and capability of the Somalia Forces are critical to prepare the soldiers to take over security responsibilities once the gradual drawdown of soldiers from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) is effected.
“We do not want to leave a security vacuum when we leave Somalia. ATMIS is receiving technical advice to see how best to exit gradually even through the help of the East Africa Standby Force so that the common enemy is defeated,” said the CS.
Hon. Duale noted there are areas of collaboration among them trade for the economic growth and the integration of the communities across the border.
H.E Nur conveyed a message of goodwill from President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somali and thanked the KDF for the support in fighting Al-Shabaab and the assurance of having a structured Defence Agreement between the two countries.
He said the legal framework shall go a long way to addressing areas of collaboration between the two militaries for the advantage the citizens.
The meeting was attended by Defence Principal Secretary Patrick Mariru, Vice Chief of Defence Forces (VCDF) Lieutenant General Jonah Mwangi and the General Officer Commanding Eastern Command (GOC EastComm) Major General Juma Mwinyikayi, Somalia Ambassador to Kenya H.E Mohamed Nur among other officials from the two countries.