Friday, December 14, 2012
By NYAMBEGA GISESA
Photo | FILE Colonel Cyrus Oguna during a status briefing on the 'Operation Linda Nchi'.
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in charge of Sector II of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) will remain in Kismayu, Somalia until a leadership vacuum is solved and security in the country stabilises.
KDF Information Officer Col Cyrus Oguna, said on Thursday the troops will be spending another Christmas in Somalia where they are involved in efforts to restore peace in the war-torn country.
“The troops will not be coming home for Christmas. They are there to get the work done and will only move out once leadership issues are handled and the Jubaland region is handed over to widely accepted leaders,” Col Oguna, told Nation.
Kenyan troops have been carrying out a military operation in Jubaland, since the Somali incursion in October last year.
Various battalions and platoons are posted in different towns of southern Somalia.
There are also thousands of KDF soldiers in Baadade, Hosingo, Fafadun, Kolbio and in Kismayu.
For almost a month now, an Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) meeting has been taking place in Kismayu to come up with an agreeable leadership for Jubaland.
“Previously, the meeting was being held in Nairobi but when the security situation improved it was decided that the consultations be held in Kismayu,” Col Oguna said.
Among the issues that the Igad meeting is discussing include filling of vacant administrative seats such as the Mayor of Kismayu and Governor of Jubaland and how to improve security in the vast region.
The Jubaland area comprises, Gedo, Lower Juba and Middle Juba regions.
All the clans from southern Somalia have their representatives in the Igad meeting.
The leaders of the Darod/Ogaden community are dominant in Kismayu while other clans in the region include Absame and Harti.
Life is slowly returning back to normal in the port city of Kismayu after its bloodless heroic capture from Al-Shabaab terrorists by the Kenyan forces in September.
Thousands of residents who fled the heavy fighting are returning back to Kismayu, while residents who stayed behind have started re-building their lives by engaging in fishing, small businesses and subsistence farming.
Further progress is being made elsewhere in the war against the Al-Shabaab militants.
The Al-Qaeda-linked group has been weakened after its ouster from Kismayu, their last bastion.
On Sunday, the Somali National Army backed by Amisom troops captured the provincial capital of Middle Shabelle, Jowhar, and the nearby towns of Burane and Mahaday.