The Kenyan government is disputing allegations made in a new UN report claiming its forces were responsible for 42 Somali civilian casualties in a 22-month period.
Some 42 Somali civilian casualties were attributed to the Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF), with 36 dead and six injured in a 22-month period ending in mid-October, the report compiled by the UN Mission in Somalia and the UN Human Rights Office said.
In its publication, the UN is referring to Kenyan forces which are not part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) which comprises troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda for its military operations, and police personnel from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Uganda.
“For a UN report to insinuate that Kenya has an occupational force in Somalia is not only incorrect but very unfortunate — hence, need for this part of the report to be deleted forthwith,” the Kenyan Ambassador to Somalia Lucas Tumbo replied to the UN report.
“Kenya has never received any complaint of civilian deaths against KDF during the period under review,” Tumbo continued.
“The serious allegation against KDF is not justified beyond doubt and therefore should not be retained in this report. The government of Kenya takes the necessary precautions to protect civilians in all its operations,” Tumbo concluded.
The report comes at a time when there is conflict escalation in Somalia, with August seeing the most brutal attack in the capital Mogadishu killing some 500 people. AMISOM has announced that it will withdraw 1,000 troops from Somalia by the end of the year.
The conflict in Somalia has stretched for over a decade, with battles between tribal clans, armed groups – including Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Shaabab – and African Union Mission troops.