Kenyan Troops Pull out of Two Somali Military Bases
Kenyan forces have pulled out of two military bases in Somalia, according to local residents, including one recently attacked by Al-Shabaab militants.
A Kenyan army spokesman has denied reports the troops have withdrawn from the camps, insisting the they’re conducting a standard operational maneuver. However, one Somali MP told the BBC that a camp Badhadhe has been reclaimed by Al-Shabaab since Kenyan forces left.
An ‘unfortunate’ situation
MP Mohamed Ismail Shurie told the BBC it was “unfortunate” Al-Shabaab has been able to recapture Badhadhe, despite the town suffering in the presence of Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) troops.
“We feel very bad that three years since it was liberated, Badhadhe has fallen to al-Shabab again,” the MP said.
The town had been under siege with Al-Shabaab militants blocking road access to Badhadhe, which lies just 100km (62 miles) from the Kenyan border.
Withdrawal welcomed in el-Ade
Residents in el-Ade have welcomed the withdrawal of Kenyan troops from the area, weeks after an Al-Shabaab attack killed dozens of KDF troops. Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta condemned the attack, without revealing how many soldiers had been killed, while the militant group claims it killed 100 DKF troops alone.
Several civilians had been killed during Kenya’s operations in the area and locals were routinely harassed by the conflict and air strikes carried out by Kenyan forces since the base attack.
Reports from inside Somalia have said that KDF troops are failing to win the support of Somali locals, despite winning back several towns from Al-Shabaab militants. Co-ordination between Kenyan soldiers and Somalia’s own military has also been questioned after the two gave contradictory accounts of the recent el-Ade attack.
There is fear that resentment towards Kenyan forces could even push Somali residents to aid the Al-Shabaab and further compromise the county’s war against terror.