Browse » Countries » Kenya


Border countries: Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan

Kenya is involved in the non-international armed conflict against al-Shabaab in Somalia

Following a series of incursions by al-Shabaab inside Kenya, Kenya sent troops into Somalia in 2011. W. Ross, ‘Kenya’s Incursion Into Somalia Raises the Stakes’, BBC, 17 October 2011. For a discussion of the legal grounds used to justify the intervention, see V. Hadzi-Vidanovic, ‘Kenya Invades Somalia Invoking the Right of Self-Defence’, EJIL Tallk! Blog, 18 October 2011. In February 2012, the Kenyan troops in Somalia became part of the AMISOM missionSee the information provided by AMISOM, Kenya – KDF, although they also continue to operate outside AMISOM. Insofar as Kenyan armed forces continue to operate outside AMISOM, Kenya continues to be a party to the non-international armed conflict in Somalia. In this sense, see also Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict in Somalia, UN doc S/2016/1098, 22 December 2016, §10. Formal authority for the AMISOM mission appears to be with the African Union; only AMISOM, but not the troop contributing countries are a party. See T. Ferraro, ‘The Applicability and Application of International Humanitarian Law to Multinational Forces’, 95 International Review of the Red Cross 891/892 (2013) 591ff. For an overview on questions relating to operations under the auspices of international organisations and the determination of parties to the conflict, see ‘contemporary challenges – intervention by foreign forces, including peacekeeping operations’ and ‘contemporary challenges - multinational forces: who is a party to the conflict’ in our classification section. In addition, the non-international armed conflict in Somalia has spilled into Kenya with al-Shabaab committing terrorist attacks in Kenya, notably the 2013 Westgate mall attack and the 2015 Garissa University attack, and undertaking raids against civilians and security forces. In September 2015, Kenya initiated Operation Linda Boni to expel al-Shabaab. Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea pursuant to Security Council resolution 2244 (2015): Somalia, UN doc S/2016/919, 28 September 2016, §§43ff; S. Cherono, ‘Kenya: Head of Operation Linda Boni Moved in Wake of Al-Shabaab Attacks’, All Africa, 19 July 2017; B. Sanga, ‘Mixed Fortunes of Operation Linda Boni as Locals Cry Foul’, Standard Digital, 17 June 2017. For an overview of border incursions, see ‘Somalia Profile – Timeline’ BBC, 21 November 2016; 'Who are Somalia’s al-Shabab?', BBC, 9 December 2016.

Last updated: Monday 23rd October 2017