Kenya got Sh6.9bn in 2022 from EU to fight terrorists


 Al-Shabaab militants who surrendered to Amisom soldiers in Kismayu on January 21, 2014. 

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

Kenya received Sh6.9 billion from the European Union and its partners to reimburse its troops for fighting al-Shabab militia in Somalia in the year to June 2023.

This brings the total amount of money the country has received to Sh52.25 billion since it invaded Somalia to fight al-Shabaab terrorists in 2011.

Conservative estimates by the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO), a think-tank that advises MPs on fiscal and economic matters, show that the country has spent an average of Sh4.75 billion a year to keep its combat troops in Somalia.

The PBO data shows that in 2012/2013, the country received Sh5.83 billion in reimbursement grants from the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), whose mandate ended in March this year.

The amount has since risen to Sh6.98 billion in the year to June 2023, the highest amount of reimbursements since the Sh6.78 billion recorded in 2016/17.

Kenya received the lowest amount of grants from the EU and its partners at Sh2.25 billion in 2021/2022, according to the PBO analysis.

"The data on the amount Kenya has spent on its troops fighting al-Shabaab since the 2011 incursion is not disaggregated," said Mr Martin Masinde, the PBO acting director.

Military spending is not open to public scrutiny, making it extremely difficult to get the exact figures. Kenya formally deployed some 4,660 troops to Somalia in October 2011 following incessant attacks and abductions of civilians by al-Shabaab militants on its territory, although the number has since been gradually reduced.

At the end of March, the United Nations Security Council voted in favour of a transitional African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia, after reconfiguring the operations of Amisom, which has been in the war-torn country for around 15 years.

The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) have since transitioned from Amisom to the African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia (Atmis).

Kenya launched Operation Linda Nchi and entered Somalia on 14 October 2011 to degrade the al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group al-Shabaab, which posed a security challenge to Kenya.

The decision followed a series of border attacks and incursions by the militia group along the shared border with Somalia, where aid workers, a couple and a French tourist were kidnapped by the terrorists.

Then-President Mwai Kibaki invoked Article 51 of the UN Charter, claiming the right to self-defence against unwarranted attacks by the terrorist group.

Following the invasion, the UN and AU invited Kenya to integrate the KDF into Amisom in November 2011. KDF troops fighting in Somalia were formally integrated into Amisom on 22 February 2012.

Under Amisom, the KDF carried out a complex operation codenamed "Operation Sledge Hammer" that led to the capture of Somalia’s Kismayo city on 28 September 2012.