UK reaffirms commitment to fight terrorism in Kenya, Somalia

Friday August 31 2018

Theresa May

British Prime Minister Theresa May and President Uhuru Kenyatta before reviewing the guard of honour at the State House in Nairobi on August 30, 2018. PHOTO | AFP 

KENNEDY KIMANTHI
By KENNEDY KIMANTHI
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A Kenyan based counter-terrorism facility will be expanded into a regional centre.

The expansion of the UK-funded counter improvised explosive device (C-IED) training facility at the Humanitarian Peace Support School (HPSS) in Nairobi is part of a new UK-Kenya security agreement which is allowing both countries to keep pace with the changing nature of threats and to renew cooperation on counter-terrorism, child protection, and regional security.

SPECIAL TRAINING

The announcement was made after a visit by UK Prime Minister Theresa on Thursday.

By November 2020, the wing is expected to have developed into a fully-functioning, independent centre of excellence where East African instructors will provide specialised IED disposal training.

The Prime Minister also announced over Sh917 million of new UK funding to support African Union Mission to Somalia (Amisom), a peace keeping mission operated by the AU in Somalia with approval by the UN, as she called on international donors to contribute more to the peacekeeping mission.

“Her visit reaffirms that the UK will support the project until it operates independently as a regional and continental centre of excellence,” said a statement from the British High Commission.

Since 2015, 1,000 military and police personnel from East Africa had been trained by the British Army in identifying and destroying IEDs. Yet, in the same period the use of IEDs has increased by around 300 per cent in Somalia, where casualties are often civilians.

During her visit, the UK and Kenya signed a new agreement that will see the two countries expand joint work on security even further.

The agreement will enable Kenya to receive critical support for border control and aviation security through training programmes and equipment for border, airline and immigration staff.

Other areas of co-operation under the agreement include countering violent extremism, terrorism and trans-national crime through sharing of information and profiling of major masterminds and beneficiaries of these crimes.

“The UK is no longer just training our own military in Kenya, but training with Kenyans to promote stability in East Africa and beyond and to build the continent’s capacity to overcome its own challenges and deliver its own security.

TERRORISM

“The UK continues to support the commitment of the brave Kenyan soldiers fighting in Somalia against Al-Shabaab. And I will announce a new package of funding to support the African Union mission in Somalia,” said the PM.

On corruption, the two leaders witnessed the signing of an agreement on the framework for the return of assets from corruption and proceeds of crime hidden in off-shore accounts by corrupt individuals.

Britain becomes the third international partner- after Switzerland and Jersey Island - to support Kenya’s war on graft through the signing of agreements aimed at repatriation of assets and monies acquired through corrupt deals back into the country.

Prime Minister May said that besides repatriation of the proceeds of corruption, her government will support efforts to prosecute and conclude all major corruption cases in the country.

Additional reporting by PSCU