Sunday May 21, 2023
By Cyrus Ombati
Defence CS when he appeared before a parliamentary committee on May 18, 2023 in Nairobi. He revealed the construction of the military FOBs
Kenya has constructed 14 fully equipped Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) along the Kenya-Somalia border as part of efforts to bolster security in the area.
This is ahead of the planned drawdown of Kenya Defence Forces from Somalia, Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale said.
“We are fully committed that when the drawdown from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) comes, we are secure as a country by ensuring that when al-Shabaab feels the heat of the Somalia Security Forces they don’t come to find refuge in Kenya.”
“Our military has a conspicuous presence along the borderline to ensure that Kenyans are secure,” said the CS.
Kenyan troops are in Somalia to pursue and suppress the activities of the terror group.
President William Ruto said in a past interview the drawdown will start in 2024 to allow Somalia to stabilize.
Duale made the remarks when he appeared before the Departmental Committee on Defence, Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committee to defend the ministry budget for the Financial Year 2023/24.
He said KDF has continued to undertake its core mandate within its budget and at the same time collaborated with other agencies whenever called upon.
He said the ministry has a tradition of being cost-effective and doing projects within the shortest time possible, saying the ministry remains committed to undertaking government projects in support of civil authorities.
Duale sought the support of Parliament to provide adequate budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Defence to facilitate its ongoing expansion and modernization efforts to enhance the force posture of the Kenya Defence Forces.
He further implored the lawmakers to provide the necessary funding to enable recruitment before the end of 2023, an exercise that has not been done for the last two years owing to budgetary constraints.
“We constructed Ulinzi Complex in a record 18 months. Uhuru Gardens, which we supervised its construction shall be handed over by December this year.”
“We are supervising the construction of Embu Stadium, which shall host this year’s Madaraka Day celebrations. We shall be ready to supervise any project which we shall do with military precision within the shortest time possible and without wastage of resources,” he said.
Duale told the committee that MoD leadership is doing an analysis to see whether it’s viable to make the Semi-Autonomous Government Agencies (SAGAS) domiciled in the Ministry independent government parastatals.
“The Ministry has three SAGAS and are chaired by the sitting Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) and Service Commanders. In the next 60 days, we shall have a mechanism to see whether they shall be independent SAGAS with their own budget to ensure that none of our Generals face litigation,” Duale said.
The border region has borne the brunt of repeated attacks from the militants who are at times aided by locals.
Somalia has not had a stable government after the fall of Siad Barre in 1991.
The area is near the Somalia border and the militants usually cross at will and stage attacks before escaping back.
Al-Shabaab terrorists have been attacking places in the region, especially in Mandera and Garissa counties after breaching security zones, which left dozens of civilians and security officials dead and wounded.
The terrorists have been planting explosives on the routes used by the security agencies.