By CYRUS OMBATI
Kenyan troops in Somalia are set to join the African Union (AU) force fighting militant Islamist next week, military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir has revealed.
Maj Chirchir did not reveal the exact day when it will happen but indicated the rehatting will take place next week.
"Rehatting the much awaited green berets likely to finally get to the ground/individual soldiers next week.....we are firmly in AMISOM," he said in a Twitter posting.
Maj Chirchir also revealed the troops together with those of the Transitional Federal Government on Thursday killed six Al Alshabaab militants in an attack at Aglibax, north of Afmadhow.
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In the ambush, two AK 47 rifles were, 200 rounds of ammunition and four rounds of motar bombs were recovered together with assorted drugs/medicine.
The Kenyan forces, which entered Somalia in mid-October, will join African Union troops from Uganda, Burundi and Djibouti.
The foreign troops are deployed in Somalia alongside government soldiers and Ethiopian forces, which separately entered Somalia in December, in pursuit of the Islamist Al Shabaab militia that the U.S. says has links to al-Qaeda.
The move will enlarge the AMISON from the current 12,000 troops to 17,000 troops.
It came after a team of defence experts from the UN Security Council visited the country to certify the number of soldiers and the list of requirements given by the government for the integration of Kenya’s soldiers into African Union forces in Somalia.
Kenya is expected to provide manpower while the AU will provide further training and equipment to the soldiers battling Al-Shabaab insurgents.
The AU will now fund the forces’ operations by paying for the firearms, uniforms, salaries and allowances.
Defence minister Yusuf Haji said two weeks ago they had furnished the AU with the number of soldiers and the equipment to be used in the mission— including the number of firearms, uniforms, aircraft and technical crew like engineers.
He also said that although KDF forces would change their uniforms to blue once they join the forces but they would not change their areas of deployment.
He disclosed that the KDF forces would not move to Mogadishu.