alexa Raila calls for KDF exit from Somalia - Daily Nation

Raila calls for KDF exit from Somalia

Friday June 6 2014

Residents of Eastleigh, Nairobi, when former Prime Minister Raila Odinga toured  the area, June 05, 2014. WILLIAM OERI

Residents of Eastleigh, Nairobi, when former Prime Minister Raila Odinga toured the area, June 05, 2014. WILLIAM OERI 

MAZERA NDURYA
By MAZERA NDURYA
More by this Author

Cord leader Raila Odinga has called for the immediate withdrawal of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) from Somalia saying they have accomplished what they went to do.

Mr Odinga said the reason Government decided to send the troops to Somalia was to destroy the Al Shabaab cell that was being used to plan attacks in Kenya.

“We agreed with retired President Mwai Kibaki to send our forces there because the terror group had become the biggest threat to our internal security.

“We commend our forces for the good work in destroying the terror group. But as far as we are concerned they have no business being there anymore,” said the former Prime Minister while addressing a public rally in Eastleigh, Nairobi, on Thursday.

He said instead of staying in Somalia, the troops should come back and beef up security in the country, adding that it is in Kenya where there are serious security problems.

The former Prime Minister who addressed members of the Somali community said the continued stay of Kenyan soldiers in Somalia is hurting Kenyans more because of the constant attacks and harassment through security operations targeting people perceived to be Al Shabaab sympathisers.

“It is high time the government evaluated whether there is any reason to continue keeping our soldiers in Somalia. Does their continued stay in Somali bring peace to our country?” he asked.

MIXED REACTIONS

The issue of whether the KDF soldiers should withdraw or stay in Somalia has drawn mixed reactions from leaders across the political divide.

Some leaders from the Cord coalition have come out in support of the continued stay of the Kenyan forces fighting alongside other Amisom soldiers, saying it was the only way to guarantee peace in Kenya.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has insisted that he has no intention of withdrawing the troops from the war torn country until they accomplish their mission.

Last month Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama broke ranks with Cord leaders’ call on the Government to withdraw the military from Somalia.

Speaking during the commissioning of a new complex at Mbilini Primary School in Kangundo constituency, Mr Muthama said such a move would amount to cowardice.

In a rare sign of support to Jubilee government, the outspoken Senator said he was fully behind President Uhuru Kenyatta’s resolve to pursue the perpetrators of terror inside Somalia.

Kenya launched attacks on the Somali insurgents in what came to be known as “Operation Linda Nchi”, a coordinated military operation involving Somali, Kenyan and Ethiopian military forces that began on 16 October 2011.