Mixed reactions as KDF prepares to withdraw from Kismaayo
Mogadishu (Harar24) – Kenyan Defense Forces based in Kismayo have started to prepare to exit the city and are expected to hand over military responsibility to Sierra Leonean forces who are also part of AMISOM.
The withdrawal of the Kenyan Defense Forces comes after an agreement concluded in Addis Ababa between the Somali government and the Jubaland Interim Administartion which cited that the Kenyan Defense Forces should withdraw from Kismayo before June this year, due to what the Somali government saw as the Kenyan Defense Force’s “biased intervention in conflicts in Kismayo between Ahmed Madobe and Bare Hirale”.
Supporters of the Jubaland Interim Administration headed by Ahmed Madobe protested earlier this week after the news regarding the KDF’s withdrawal broke out, whom they see as their “allies” in their “battle” for the control of Kismayo.
A spokesman for the Kenyan Defense Forces based in Kismayo confirmed that the Kenyan troops would withdraw from Kismayo while assuring that reinforcements would be sent Somalia’s Gedo province. He also further added that a small number of Kenyan troops would remain stationed in Kismayo.
On the other hand, others are happy and welcomed the news of the KDF’s withdrawal. Abdullahi Elmi Bare, a local clan elder close to Bare Hirale said he welcomed the news of the KDF’s withdrawal, he told Harar24: “We are pleased to hear that the Kenyans are finally leaving, they are the ones who indiscriminately bombarded our houses when backing Ahmed Madobe in his fight against Bare Hirale’s forces. I firmly believe the Kenyans weren’t here to stabilize the region but to back a clan based takeover of Kismayo.”
Last year in August, after a long a series of disagreements a full blown war broke out in Kismayo between Ahmed Madobe loyalists and Bare Hirale loyalists, which led to the removal of Bare Hirale loyalists from the city with the support of the KDF. According to the latest reports, Bare Hirale and his supporters who are based on the outskirts of Kismayo, are eager to return to the city after the KDF’s withdrawal, which analysts believe will likely refuel their long rivalry and fight against Jubaland’s Interim Administration.