US okays Sh43.5bn KDF arms deal to boost anti-Shabaab fight

US okays Sh43.5bn KDF arms deal to boost anti-Shabaab fight

US okays Sh43.5bn KDF arms deal to boost anti-Shabaab fight
A Kenya Defence Forces soldier on guard as Somali residents swim in the Indian Ocean in Kismayu on November 20, 2015. The US government has approved the sale of weapons worth Sh43.5 billion to the Kenyan military to boost the fight against Al-Shabaab. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

( Daily Nation) –The US State Department has approved a deal to sell military aircraft worth approximately $418 million (Sh43.5 billion) to Kenya.

The required certification notifying the US Congress of the approved sale was delivered to Capitol Hill on January 19.

According to a statement by the Defence Security Cooperation Agency, the Kenyan government, under the approved sale, will receive up to 12 Air Tractor AT- 802L and two AT-504 trainer aircrafts.

Included in the sale is a weapons package, technical support as well as programme management.

The proposed sale, the statement said, will go a long way in contributing to the national security of the United States as Kenya is a strong regional partner at the forefront in the critical operations against Al-Shabaab.

It adds that Kenya has also been a troop contributor to the African Union Mission in Somalia or Amisom.

The planes are meant to supplement the aging F-5 aircraft and are deemed to be more cost-effective and can be stationed much closer to the battle zones

than the F-5.

The prime contractor has been identified as L-3 Communications, Platform Integration Division, of Waco, Texas.

Though the State Department has approved the sale, it has not yet been concluded.

Earlier last week, newly sworn-in US President Donald Trump questioned US involvement in the war against Al-Shabaab in Somalia, saying it has lasted 10 years without tangible results.