Kenya: The Kenya Defence Forces ( KDF) will not leave Somalia until peace is restored in the horn of Africa nation, Deputy President William Ruto has said.
Responding to calls for withdrawal of Kenyan troops due to rampant terror attacks, Ruto said: “We shall stay engaged under Amisom to create a peaceful and stable condition for Somalis.
He spoke at his office Wednesday when the Somalia Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed paid him a visit.
The DP also announced that plans were underway to roll out voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees. The DP at the same time said stern action will be taken against senior Government officials for negligence that led to the killing of more than 50 people in Mpeketoni.
Ruto also said politicians and leaders who issued inflammatory statements that may have triggered the attacks will be arrested and prosecuted.
The DP said investigations are underway, adding that so far action has only been taken against Government officers based on available evidence.
It is true that some officers did not act on intelligence information provided and action has already been taken on some of them,” he said.
Those interdicted were the County Police Commander Leonard Omollo, the County AP Commander and the district AP Commander.
Ruto, however, declined to respond to a direct question put to him by journalists asking him to explain why no action has been taken against Interior and Coordination of the National Government Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku and the Inspector General David Kimaiyo.
Ruto said the Government will only comment on persons allegedly abducted by the terrorist group once they have credible information.
“Al Shaabab can claim anything but once we have concrete information (on abductees) we shall make it available to Kenyans. Let us not speculate,” said Ruto.
He said the tripartite agreement between the Somalia Government, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Kenyan Government on voluntary repatriation will be signed in two weeks.
Rebuild lives “This agreement has been long overdue and in the next two weeks we should sign it either in Mogadishu or in Nairobi,” he said.
The DP said the repatriation process will begin to ensure Somalis go back home to rebuild their lives.
“A lot of ground has been covered already in Somalia by security forces to liberate nine regions from the terror group in the past few weeks and these are part of the efforts to make the country peaceful ahead of their return,” said Ruto.
“We are hosting the biggest Somali nation and it is significant that they safely and voluntarily return to build their home,” he added. The statement comes even as various quarters continue to ask the Government to ‘re-think’ KDF presence in Somalia.
Ruto said Kenya and Somalia have scaled up their cooperation and revealed that a full-fledged embassy will be opened in Mogadishu.
“We are working on greater cooperation and sharing of information for better and appropriate response to terror threats in Kenya and Somalia,” he said.
He said terrorism was an international problem and it was necessary to engage with other sister countries for enhanced cooperation between security agencies.
Abdiweli said the agreement will enable refugees to voluntarily go back to their homes to “start their lives afresh”. “We are working hard to do this.
We are making conditions conducive for them to return and stay at home (Somalia),” said Abdiweli. He said his Government will continue to cooperate with Kenya to pursue terrorists until Somalia is safe. “We want to eliminate areas terrorists use as safe havens.
Somalia has our support in creating that condition to promote safe return,” the Deputy President said.
Source: Standard digital