Kenya military given Sh9bn from US to fight Al-Shabaab

President Uhuru Kenyatta from (left), Chief of the Defence Forces, General Samson Mwathethe and Defence CS Raychelle Omamo in Eldoret on July 10, 2015. The US Government has given the Kenya Defence Force Sh9.5 billion in aid this financial year to enhance the fight against Al-Shabaab. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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The US Government has given the Kenya Defence Force Sh9.5 billion in aid this financial year to enhance the fight against Al-Shabaab.

The money will be used to buy equipment, train soldiers and support the Kenya military in Somalia and the fight against Al-Shabaab.

From this amount, about Sh5.9 billion will go to Amisom, of which Kenya is a part. The money is for enhancing “manoeuvre and border force, counter-improvised explosive devices, intelligence and logistics”.

It will also help Kenya soldiers identify and target Al-Shabaab terrorists and respond to attacks effectively. The money would also buy military aircraft.

The military said that about Sh1.9 billion would be used to buy drones and unmanned aerial systems for spying on land and sea, while another Sh2.52 billion would support the Kenyan Ranger Regiment.

The surveillance equipment the military is expected to buy has been described as virtually undetectable and is equipped with video cameras which can be monitored from a remote location. They also do not require a runway to launch.

According to a security assistance monitor document released on July 21, just three days ahead of the arrival of US President Barack Obama in Nairobi, this year’s allocation is a 163 per cent increase compared to the Sh3.8 billion given last year.

The security assistance monitor is part of the Centre for International Policy, which tracks and analyses US security and defence assistance worldwide by collecting publicly available government data.

The July report found that in 2010, Kenya received Sh2.4 billion, while in 2011 and 2012, it received Sh2.3 billion and Sh2.08 billion respectively.

However, according to the Global Terrorism Database, there was a rapid rise in the number of terrorist attacks in the country, from 11 in 2010 to 115 in 2014.

In Kenya, there has been an unprecedented involvement of US security agents in attacks against Al-Shabaab. As a result, US counter-terrorism officers enhanced their work in East Africa focusing more on Somalia.

This led to the killing of Adan Garar, an Al-Shabaab leader linked to the 2013 Westgate attack, in a drone attack in Diinsoor, southern Somalia on March 12. At least four other top commanders have also been killed this year.

The document says that the Kenyan military will get Sh9.5 billion out of the Sh10 billion US aid given to Kenya.

The Obama administration in 2012 provided a much greater share of the total counter-terrorism aid to the Kenyan Police with Sh900 million (44 per cent) of the total Sh2.1 billion.

In the recent past, the US has gradually been increasing its counter-terrorism aid to the Kenya military and decreasing the amount it gives to the police.

The bulk of US military aid to Kenya this year aims to enhance the fight against terrorism through the defence department’s counter-terrorism partnership fund.

The Kenya military is also scheduled to receive additional counter-terrorism aid under peacekeeping through the partnership for regional East Africa counter terrorism account.

The US has provided funds for training on key aspects to combating terrorism, including cyber security studies.

America is the largest financier of peace missions in Africa. President Obama launched the African peacekeeping rapid response partnership last year to enhance quick deployment in six African countries.

He also launched a $65 million security governance initiative to enable Kenya, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia to strengthen their security sectors.

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