Kenya is demanding more compensation this year from the United Nations (UN) for its troops fighting Al-Shabaab in Somalia as it signaled to start withdrawing the soldiers from next July.
Treasury documents show that Kenya expects reimbursement of Sh8.5 billion in the financial year starting July, up from the current Sh6.1 billion — which has remained static for the past four years.
The refund is set to drop to Sh5 billion and Sh3.5 billion in the next two years, indicating a gradual reduction of troops.
The UN eased Kenya’s cash crunch after it refunded Sh4.68 billion in the 10 months to April.
In the past, delay in reimbursement of the funds has been linked to the UN’s insistence on verification of claims.
About 4,000 Kenyan soldiers are part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom). The African Union is keen on all the troops withdrawing by December 2020, but Kenya wants a delayed exit.
Al Shabaab conducts frequent assaults in Kenya, mostly in the region bordering Somalia, to put pressure on the Kenyan government to withdraw its peacekeeping troops from Somalia.
Amisom troops were deployed to Somalia in 2007 to defend the internationally-backed government against attacks the Shabaab.
Kenya formally sent 4,660 soldiers to Somalia in October 2011 after incessant attacks and kidnapping of civilians by the militants within its territory.
A year later, the UN Security Council gave Kenya the green light to join Amisom, a decision that meant the Treasury would not bear the full costs of the incursion.
The international community pays $1,028 (Sh103,828) for each soldier per month, their respective governments then deduct about $200 (Sh20,200) for administrative costs, leaving them with a take-home of about $800 (Sh83,628).
The soldiers receive the funds through the government. The African Union wants Somalia national army to take over responsibility for the country’s security.