EXCLUSIVE: AMISOM command in Kismayo officially taken from KDF
Mogadishu (Harar24) – In an unannounced move by the African Union the AMISOM command in Kismayo has officially been transferred from the Kenyan Defense Forces to Sierra Leonean forces a few weeks ago, as a top Somali government official confirmed to Harar24.
The government official, who requested that his name not be disclosed, stated that the decision to transfer the AMISOM command in the seaport town of Kismayo from the Kenyan forces to the Sierra Leonean forces came after the Somali government requested so from the African Union, after accusing the Kenyan forces of violating Somalia’s sovereignty.
“The African Union accepted the request by the Somali government to remove the Kenyan forces from the AMISOM command in Kismayo, I can confirm that the command has been handed to Sierra Leonean troops” the government official told Harar24. “The Somali government filed a complaint to the AU in regards to the Kenyan forces after involving themselves in several violations, including preventing senior government officials such as ministers and MPs from accessing Kismayo without any right, whilst detaining some of them at the airport for days. The Kenyan forces were also involved in taking sides of certain clans during conflicts in the city, and have further been involved facilitating the illegal trade of charcoal from Kismayo’s seaport, which was banned by the UN and Somali government” he further stated.
The move by the African Union is believed to have angered leaders in the Jubba interim administration, including Ahmed Mohamed Islam “Madobe”, a former Islamist leader turned KDF ally, who visited the Somali capital several times to meet with government officials and members of the international community to convince them to prevent this decision. However, his efforts were futile as the African Union decided in favor the Somali government’s request.
The Kenyan Defense Forces invaded southern Somalia in late 2011 and moved on to take southern seaport town of Kismayo in 2012 along with a host of other towns, before it joined the AMISOM in that same year. Ever since there has been a friction between Mogadishu and Nairobi on how Kismayo would be administered and by whom, with the Somali government at times openly accusing the Kenyan forces of fulfilling their own agendas alongside illegal activities without the consent of the Somali government.