Africa

Defence Secretary Affirms UK's Cooperation With Kenya And Somalia

Ben Wallace visited the African countries in an effort to promote stability in the region.

The UK has signed a security agreement with Kenya, promising deeper cooperation to combat threats such as terrorism, cybercrime and human trafficking.

The two nations will meet regularly to share information on terrorist groups, to target their backers with financial sanctions and to undermine their recruitment efforts.

The deal was agreed during a visit to Nairobi by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, which included meetings with Cabinet Secretary for the Interior Dr Fred Matiang'i and Cabinet Secretary for Defence Dr Monica Juma.

Mr Wallace said that more than 200 British troops are based in Kenya and the UK military is "determined to invest further in those bilateral bonds".

"Kenya has long been the UK's defence partner of choice in east Africa," he said.

"Both our nations face shared threats, from violent extremism to organised crime.

"The security agreement we have signed will allow us to deepen our relationship and tackle regional defence issues as partners."

Mr Wallace visited the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK), a hub where UK soldiers prepare for global operations (Picture: MOD).

Mr Wallace visited the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK), where UK soldiers prepare for global operations.

Most of the UK's military presence in Kenya is part of BATUK and thousands more visit the country each year for joint exercises.

In the past two years, the British Army and Kenyan Defence Force have conducted 10 joint training exercises there, involving 1,500 Kenyan troops and 10,000 British troops.

Mr Wallace also visited Somalia, where he met President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and vowed to continue helping the country's military forces to combat terrorist groups such as Al-Shabaab.

The British Army has more than 50 personnel based in Somalia and recently trained the 500th Somali soldier in basic infantry skills - with plans to train up to 600 more in 2021.

Cover image: Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Monica Juma, Kenya's cabinet secretary for defence, unveil a plaque as they open Nyati Barracks (Picture: MOD).