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Troops withdrawal from Somalia ill-advised

By The Standard | August 4th 2019

After 28 years of instability, Somalia is crawling back to stability, thanks to coordinated interventions by the international community. With the faceless Al Shaabab driven out of key towns by the UN and Amison forces, the capital Mogadishu can now enjoy a semblance of tranquility. Since the onslaught began, Somalia’s economy has improved and its relationship with neighbours thawing.

The terrorists and their actions have been erratic but the resolve to flush them out of the Horn of Africa nation hasn’t wavered. Kenya has particularly upped her ante by refusing to look the other way in its fight against Al Shabaab, with an emphatic President Uhuru Kenyatta warning that no stone will be left unturned against the aggressors who killed and maimed at Westgate, Garissa University and Dusit.

The triumphs are historic. In fact, what the strides have put on display above all is the ability of countries, Kenya included, to work together to defeat an adversary. Those involved shouldn’t relent.

However, we warn against a rushed withdrawal of troops. Actions that could predispose innocent Somalis to renewed threats should be reassessed. We urge the UN, AU and the troop-contributing nations not to throw out the baby with the bath waters.

As AU Commission chair Mousa Faki once warned, a premature withdrawal from Somalia is likely to undermine gains made over the last decade. Nothing prevents the international community from reviewing the 2021 drawdown deadline. 

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