Kenya’s Security Dilemma in Somalia

Kenya’s Security Dilemma in Somalia

~ From Canadian International Council – Canada's hub for international affairs ~
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Kenyan soldiers on patrol in Southern Somalia (Reuters) It has been almost three years since Kenyan troops were deployed in neighboring Somalia to create a security buffer zone on the Somali side of the border. The main aim at the time was to reduce growing insecurity in Kenya, which has affected the country’s economy—especially the tourism industry. Since the deployment and subsequent integration of Kenyan troops into the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), however, the goal of reducing insecurity is yet to be realized. Instead, the insecurity—which some attribute to the very presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia—has continued to rise.The recent attacks on June 16 in Mpeketoni, Lamu County, Kenya, where more than 60 people died, are another reminder that terrorist incidents are increasing since Kenya’s deployment in Somalia. Despite the ongoing debate between government and opposition groups about the cause and perpetrators of the Mpeketoni attacks, Kenya’s presence in Somalia remains an important factor. Even before the Mpeketoni attacks, the question of Kenya’s presence in Somalia has been firmly under discussion in many policy circles. Some opposition groups, including the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) and its leader, Raila Odinga, reason that it is Kenya’s presence in Somalia that has brought insecurity to the country, and Kenya should therefore withdraw. According to this argument, radical Somali Islamists will have no reason to keep targeting Kenya once the country’s troops cease operations in Somalia.

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