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Kenya won't pull out troops from Somalia despite attacks

19 June 2014, 07:55

Nairobi - The government maintained on Wednesday it will not withdraw its troops from neighboring Somalia, despite increased terror attacks by insurgents from the Horn of Africa nation.

Deputy President William Ruto said increased terror attacks will not make Kenya run away, but will make it continue to play its role as a responsible neighbour to help stabilize the region.

"Kenya is not going to walk away from its duty as a responsible neighbour, we are going to stay engaged under the Amison arrangement until stability is realized in Somalia," Ruto said during a news conference with visiting Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed in Nairobi.

The DP's remarks came after a section of Kenyans including the opposition urged the government to withdraw troops from Somalia to prevent future terrorist attacks in the country.

The insurgents have surged their grenade and bomb attacks on Kenyan soil to protest the military incursion into southern Somalia in 2011.

But Ruto said the Kenyan military incursion in Somalia has weakened the Al-Shabaab militants' capacity to carry out massive terror attacks in the region.

He said that Kenya being the largest economy in the region has a stake in what happens because the country suffers heaviest incase of instability.

"We will stay engaged because whenever we have instability in the region Kenya carries the heaviest part of the instability,"

He said he had held fruitful discussions with the Somalia premier earlier in the day. They agreed on greater cooperation between security agencies of the two countries.

"We have agreed on greater cooperation between our security agencies and sharing of information by authorities on criminals who escape to either Somalia or Kenya," he said.

Ruto noted that terrorism was an international problem whereby information sharing was necessary in the fight against the vice.

He said it was important to engage and work with sister countries for better information gathering adding today's meeting also discussed how better linkages can be formed.

"As a country, we want to establish better linkages that will help us better respond to terrorist threats in the region," he said.

The meeting also agreed that the tripartite agreement that was launched a few years ago will be concluded and officially made the channel and framework under which Somali refugees in Kenya will return to their country.

"This is an exercise that has been outstanding for almost one year but with today's agreement, the tripartite agreement will be formalized in the next two weeks either in Nairobi or Mogadishu to allow voluntary safe return of refugees to Somalia," Ruto said.

He also announced that Kenya plans to open its embassy in Somalia to facilitate easier transactions of issues between the two neighbors.

"We are going to fast track so that in the next couple of months there will be a full fledged Embassy in Mogadishu," he said.

 - Xinhua

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