KDF stays in Somalia amid sugar smuggling saga


Kenyatta inspecting troops

Kenya has beefed up its border security in the wake of the Paris attacks.

The terror threat in the country is still fresh in people’s minds, after Al-Shabab killed more than 148 people at Garissa University in April.

Kenyan troops have been in Somalia since 2011, but this has led to a number of revenge attacks by the jihadists.

Kenya’s Defence Secretary, Raychelle Omamo, previously the country’s ambassador to France, says the will not be leaving Somalia soon until peace is achieved.

She spoke to BBC Focus on Africa’s Bola Mosuro about the challenges ahead, and also gave her reaction to the Paris attacks.

Omamo told BBC KDF forces will not withdraw from Somalia despite smuggling accusations.

Last week, a report released by a Kenyan civil society group implicated the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in a sugar and charcoal smuggling network through Somalia’s Kismayo port.

President Uhuru Kenyatta speaking while on a tour of the western region of the country said the report was aimed at tarnishing the otherwise remarkable track record of the Kenyan military.

The report titled “black and white, Kenya’s criminal racket in Somalia” has continued to receive terse condemnation from the government, the latest being from the commander in chief of the armed forces himself.

The report by journalists for justice claimed Kenyan troops in Somalia were benefiting from a multibillion shilling sugar and charcoal smuggling business, through which at least 150 million kilograms of sugar are smuggled into the country earning the KDF at least 1.3 billion shillings per year.

The report further accused the KDF of being part of a network involving the Jubaland administration, a chain that benefited the enemy: al-Shabaab militants whose main financial stay has been the charcoal trade.

Kenyatta said the forces have stuck to their mandate, that of securing the country, now under the African Union forces AMISOM.

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