The United States Congress will support Kenya’s bid to withdraw its troops from African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).
However, they will only support the move if President Donald Trump’s administration establishes that Kenya’s pulling out would not lead to the re-emergence of extremist groups like the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab militants.
This is among the resolutions reached during a meeting between the visiting US members of the House of Representatives and the Senate with their Kenyan counterparts led by Senate Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki.
Led by US representative for North Carolina's David Eugene Price, the American lawmakers heard that Kenya was ready to pull out their troops to allow Somalia government manage its security affairs.
“We have told them that as a country, the end game, is for Somalia to be able to manage the affairs of their own country,” Prof Kindiki, who led the Kenyan delegation in the bilateral talks with US Congress said in an interview with K24 Digital on Sunday.
“We will have told them (US congress) that the position of our country is to ensure the Federal government of Somalia is empowered and capacitated to adequately to run their government,” he added.
Other congress members were Vern Buchanan (Florida), Dina Titus (Nevada), Barbara Lee (California), Bill Flores (Texas), Diana Degette (Colorado) and Markwayne Mullin (Oklahoma) among others.
Sources revealed to K24 Digital that during the Friday meeting, the over seven US congress accompanied by US Ambassador Kyle McCarter were concerned over stability of Somalia after reports emerged that Amisom will withdraw its troops in February 2020.
This is despite some troops-contributing countries showing an unwillingness to leave the terror-stricken country.
But according to Kindiki, as long as Kenya’s withdrawal does not happen in a hurry and it’s conditional in assuring that the vacuum created by withdrawal does not attract reemergence of terrorist groups that had already been vanquished, they will proceed.
“We are saying, yes, we need to withdraw but we are not putting any timelines, because the conditions we have put must be meet before total withdraw,”
“They have told us they respect what Kenya has done in keeping the stability of the region and assured that they would want Kenya to take leadership,” he said.
In February 16, top Amisom commanders met in Mogadishu and agreed on how to execute the mission’s new Concept of Operations (Conops), a document that provides a framework for implementing the AU troops’ gradual transition and final exit from Somalia.
The meeting was attended by Lt-Gen Tigabu Yilma Wondimhunegn, the Amisom Force Commander, and his deputy Maj-Gen Charles Tai Gituai, a Kenyan in charge of Amisom’s operations and plans.