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But a spokesman for the AU peacekeepers in Somalia dismissed the allegations, saying “they are fully part of the mission”.
The report by the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea said KDF personnel initially failed to wear the insignia of Amisom -- although of late “some KDF vehicles and troops” displayed the sign in a concerted effort to demonstrate integration into Amisom”.
“The Monitoring Group continued to receive corroborating reports indicating that the operational presence of KDF in Amisom was more theoretical than practical,” said the report.
KDF Spokesman, Cyrus Oguna, defended the troops saying: “All Kenyan army troops in Somalia are under Amisom and wear the green helmet.”
The UN report released last week said the Kenyan government continued -- before and after integrating its army into Amisom-- to deploy its Air Force in Somalia, potentially violating the UN arms embargo in the troubled Horn of African nation.
Apart from three attack helicopters and nine utility helicopters, the UN Security Council did not authorise an air component of the AU force.
“The Monitoring Group has confirmed several reports regarding the apparent unilateral actions of the Kenya Defence Forces in Kismayu,” said the report.
Ras Kamboni is the Somali force that fought alongside Kenya in its year-long push to take Kismayu.
Houmed said: “The Kenya army are Amisom when they are in Somalia,” adding that the Kenyan army commander in Somalia, Brig Ngere, reports directly to the force commander in Mogadishu.
“They’re part and parcel of Amisom. We are one and the same,” Houmed said. They’re fully part of the mission.”
On June 2 last year, Kenya signed a memorandum of understanding with the African Union to formally integrate KDF into the command and control structures of Amisom. But the UN experts say they had “encountered a degree of unwillingness on the part of KDF to clarify its status”.
The group also talks of tension between Somalia and Ethiopia over the situation in Kismayu, saying that Mogadishu has replaced governors in Bay and Hiiraan regions “with those less favourable to Ethiopia” and that Ethiopia’s army in those regions received limited cooperation from local administrations on security matters.
Ethiopian forces have recently withdrew from Baidoa city, stretching the capacity of Amisom.
Although Ethiopia prefers to retain command and control of its troops inside Somalia independent of Amisom, it is also seeking recognition and financial support from donors for its efforts against Al-Shabaab, said the report.
The group also accuses the KDF, along with Jubaland President Ahmed Madobe and his Ras Kamboni force, of taking “a unilateral decision to begin the export of charcoal from Kismayu in violation of the ( UN charcoal) ban.”
Somalia’s charcoal is exported to a number of Gulf state, especially the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.