has demanded that Kenyan troops stationed in
the volatile port city of Kismayo as part of an
African Union force be replaced, accusing them
of backing a militia force opposing Mogadishu.
Calling for a “more neutral African Union force”,
Somalia’s information ministry accused the
troops of supporting militia soldiers “in violation
of their mandate”, as well as attacking civilians
and arresting a top government army
Several rival factions are battling for control of
Kismayo, a strategic and economic hub in the
southern Jubaland region: these include former
Islamist chief Ahmed Madobe, who in May
appointed himself “president” of Jubaland, and
Bare Hirale, a former Somali defence minister
who also leads a powerful militia.
The Kenyan troops, who invaded Somalia in
2011, ousting Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab fighters
from Kismayo before joining the 17,700-strong
AU force known as AMISOM, back Madobe’s
control of the region.
But since Mogadishu’s weak central
government does not recognise the title of
“president” or the region of Jubaland, the
Kenyan troops are seen as opposing the central
government they are mandated — and funded
by the UN and European Union — to support.
Abdishakur Ali Mire, Somali deputy information
minister, called for an “immediate replacement”
of Kenyan troops there with AU forces from
“There was a targeted offensive against civilians
and the SNA (Somali National Army) command
centre in Kismayo by the AMISOM Section Two
forces,” Mire said in a statement released late
“Kenyan forces arrested and mistreated” the
government army commander in Kismayo, he
added, calling for his immediate release.
AMISOM’s sector two, the Kismayo region, is
manned by more than 4,000 Kenyan troops, as
well as a small force from Sierra Leone.
Restive Jubaland lies in the far south of Somalia
and borders both Kenya and Ethiopia. Control is
split between multiple forces including clan
militia, Kenyan and Ethiopian soldiers and the
Rich in farmland, and possessing a lucrative
charcoal industry, the region is also viewed by
Kenya as a key buffer zone to protect its
Kismayo has changed hands more than a dozen
times since the collapse of central government