President Uhuru Kenyatta has been pressed to withdraw Kenyan soldiers from Somalia, following the recent Al-Shabaab attack on a KDF camp that left 21 workforces dead and 44 others seriously injured. This came a few days after Kenya signed a deal with America to acquire modern fighter jets to aid in the war against Al-Shabaab. Speaking during the burial of one of the soldiers who was killed in the line of duty in somalia, the grievers said it was time for the soldiers to protect the country’s borders from within. Less than a year ago, Al-Shabaab militia launched an attack on the Kenyan-run AMISOM army base in the town of El Adde and killed a number of soldiers.

The Al-Shabaab terror group has been targeting Kenya in its attacks as a sign of asking her to remove its troops from Somalia.

The repercussions behind the withdrawal

Withdrawing Kenyan forces from Somalia would mean yielding to the demands of the terrorists and definitely conceding defeat. In so doing, it will give them a reason to cause greater annihilation in countries that are currently supporting peace in Somalia Apart from adding itself to the list of countries that have turned their back against Somalia, Kenya will turn out to be egocentric and unwilling to support the Somalia brethren in restoring peace and gaining their freedom from the long-term dominance by the Al-Shabaab militia. Additionally, Kenya’s withdrawal from Somalia would have a negative implication for the country’s strategic interests in Somalia and its quest for peace, both within and without.

Since Somalia is an immediate neighbor to Kenya, the exercise will mean drawing the Al-Shabaab group closer to Kenya and this may lead to its capture to this Al-Qaeda affiliate.

To withdraw or not to withdraw

If Kenya decides to withdraw its soldiers from the war-torn Somalia, it will impact adversely on the war against al-Shabaab.

It will also encourage Al-Shabaab to continue their reign of terror in Somalia and parts of Kenya. On the other hand, Kenya is fretful that the lack of funding for its troops from the United Nations is limiting its operations. Therefore, failure to withdraw its troops will see many innocent lives lost through the attacks by this terrorist group.

All in all, the option of pulling out is not as easy as the opposition groups make it appear, hitherto no-withdrawal is not as cost-free. Either way, Kenya’s best options for addressing rising insecurity depends on humanizing a unity of purpose among its political leadership and citizens in their commitment to the best national course, rather than narrow-minded political and ethnic interests. “Politicizing security issues is counter-productive to collective action and political consensus-building for addressing insecurity”. The threat of Al-Shabaab, in most cases, is mostly in its manipulation of these vulnerabilities that require imperative attention.