Kenya Defence Forces

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Military of Kenya
Service branches Kenya Army,
Kenya Navy,
Kenya Air Force
Military age 18
Available for
military service
4,303,153, age 15–49 (2005 est.)
Fit for
military service
3,963,532, age 15–49 (2005 est.)
Reaching military
age annually
unknown (2005 est.)
Active personnel over 63,000
Budget $600 million (FY2009)
Percent of GDP 1.8% (FY2008)

The Kenya Defence Forces are the armed forces of the Republic of Kenya. The Kenya Army, Kenya Navy, and Kenya Air Force comprise the national Defence Forces. The current Kenya Defence Forces were established, and its composition laid out, in Article 241 of the 2010 Constitution of Kenya. The President is the commander-in-chief of all the armed forces.

The military enjoys, in general, a good reputation. It is regularly deployed in peace-keeping missions around the world and generally commended for its professionalism. Further, in the aftermath of the national elections of December 2007 and the violence that subsequently engulfed the country, a commission of inquiry, the Waki Commission, commended its readiness and adjudged it to "have performed its duty well."[1] Nevertheless there have been serious allegations of human rights violations, most recently while conducting counter-insurgency operations in the Mt Elgon [2] area and also in the district of Mandera central.[3] Additionally, Kenya’s military, like many institutions in the country in general, has been tainted by allegations of corruption. Further, because the operations of the military have been traditionally cloaked by the ubiquitous blanket of “state security”, the corruption has been less in public view, and thus less subject to public scrutiny and notoriety. This has changed recently. In what are by Kenyan standards unprecedented revelations, in 2010, credible claims of corruption were made with regard to recruitment [4] and procurement of Armoured Personnel Carriers.[5] Further, the wisdom and prudence of certain decisions of procurement have been publicly questioned.[6]


[edit] History

[edit] 1896 to 1900

The period between 1896 and 1900 saw the East African Rifles deployed in a number of campaigns in line with British colonial policies. In collaboration with Major Cunningham's Uganda Rifles, expeditions were organized against the Nandi who put up a strong resistance. It was not until 1906 that they were subdued. Another one in 1900 commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Hatch, Commandant of the East African Rifles, followed this. Two medals were issued after these expeditions namely “1898” and “Jubaland 1900”. The East African Rifles also sent troops to help Uganda Rifles suppress a mutiny by Sudanese troops in Uganda. Captain Harrison who led this expedition was decorated. After being deployed on this expedition, he remained behind to form the 1st Battalion of the Uganda Rifles. This battalion later became 5 KAR.

In 1901 the British government decided to organize all the existing troops in Central Africa, East Africa, Uganda and British Somaliland under one command. Lieutenant Colonel Manning, an officer in the Indian Corps was appointed Inspector General for all the troops and promoted to the rank of general. After the troops based in different parts of British East and Central Africa territories were placed under a central command, the regiment born thereof was officially designated “King's African Rifles” on 1 January 1902. The composition of this regiment was as follows:-

  • The 8 companies of 1 Central African Rifles became 1 Battalion King's African Rifles.
  • The 6 companies of 2 Central African Rifles became 2 Battalion King's African Rifles.
  • The 7 companies and one camel company of East African Rifles became 3 Battalion King's African Rifles.
  • The 9 companies of the Uganda Rifles became 4 Battalion King's African Rifles.
  • The 4 companies of the Contingent of Uganda Rifles became 5 Battalion Kings African Rifles.

[edit] 1902-1963

On 1 April 1902, 3 KAR moved its headquarters from Mombasa to Nairobi, and together with 4 KAR and 5 KAR, was used by the British colonial government in expeditions against those who resisted British rule. In 1904 5 KAR, which was mainly made up of Indian troops, was disbanded chiefly because of maintenance costs and also because the British felt they had contained the resistance to their rule. This was however reconstituted in 1916 during World War I and stationed in Meru.

Later in 1926, 5 KAR was again disbanded and their colours were handed over to 3 KAR for safe custody. On 1 March 1930 the Unit was once again reconstituted, presented with their colours and stationed in Nairobi . After World War II both battalions were used by the colonial government to contain the Mau Mau rebellion. On the dawn of independence the Kenya National Assembly passed a bill (Kenya Bills 1963) to amend the status of the military forces in Kenya . Accordingly, the former units of the King's African Rifles were transformed to the Kenyan Military Forces and the Independent Kenyan Government was legally empowered to assign names to the units as deemed necessary with effect from the midnight of 12 December 1963. Thus 3 KAR and 5 KAR became 3 Kenya Rifles and 5 Kenya Rifles respectively. 3 KAR, which was the forerunner of today's Kenyan Army, was formed on 1 January 1902. The transformation of King's African Rifles to Kenya Military Forces on the midnight of 12 December 1963 is a major milestone in the foundation of today's Kenya Army units.

[edit] 1963-present

The Ministry of State for Defence, just like that of Internal Security and Provincial Administration, is part of the vast office of the President docket. All but senior military officers are appointed, promoted, and, if necessary, removed by the military's professional personnel system. The president appoints and retires senior military officers. With the authority of the president as commander-in-chief, the minister of defence presides over the National Defence Council. The chief of general staff is the tactical, operational and administrative head of the military. Under the 2010 constitution, the defence forces can no longer be deployed for combat operations within Kenya without the approval of Parliament

In October 2011, in a coordinated military operation with the Somalian military, troops from Kenya crossed the border into southern Somalia in pursuit of Al-Shabaab militants that are alleged to have kidnapped several foreign tourists and aid workers inside Kenya.[7][8] The incursion was reportedly spearheaded by Kenya's Minister of Defence, Mohamed Yusuf Haji.[7]

[edit] Organization

The army's organisation consists of two armoured brigades, four infantry brigades, one engineer brigade, one armoured reconnaissance battalion, three artillery battalions, three engineer battalions, one independent air cavalry battalion with 35 armed helicopters (Embakasi), five infantry battalions, one parachute battalion and one ranger battalion for low-intensity warfare.

The official Ministry of State for Defence lists the following Army formations and services:[9]

[edit] Kenya Army formations

[edit] Kenya Army services

  • Kenya Army Ordnance Corps
  • Kenya Army Corps of Transport
  • Kenya Army Electrical and Mechanical Engineering
  • Kenya Army Corps of Signals
  • Kenya Army Military Police Corps
  • Kenya Army Education Corps
  • Medical Battalion
  • Armed Forces Constabularies

Ranger D Company of 20 Parachute Battalion is the only commando unit in the Kenyan Army trained to fight terrorist activities by the US through Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) and its predecessors. Main tasks include reconnaissance, raids, ambushes, infiltration and border patrol in joint operations. The unit was deployed for counter insurgency operations in the Mt Elgon area in 2008 amid accusations of torture and illegal detention.[10]

[edit] Equipment

[edit] Kenyan Army

[edit] Combat vehicles

The acquisition of T-72s has caused significant controversy. Thirty-three vehicles ordered from Ukraine were hijacked by Somali pirates.[11] The ship they were being carried in, MV Faina was released and the tanks unloaded in the port city of Mombasa in February 2009. There have been doubts expressed as to whether the T-72s imported by Kenya are intended for use by the Kenyan Army. Instead, popular opinion is that they were being clandestinely imported for the southern Sudanese army, which has an arms embargo against it.[12] The Kenyan military has dispelled speculation by publicly showing these tanks (and other hardware) as part of its arsenal on 22 August 2010, during rehearsals for the passing of the new Constitution of Kenya.[13] Nevertheless a cloud of doubt will persistently hang over the initial intent of this acquisition. Recent revelations by Wikileaks provide that "it is a badly kept secret" that there has been an ongoing process of armaments purchases on behalf of the Southern Sudanese government by the Kenyan government.[14] The leaks go on to speculate that these clandestine operations were motivated by the Kenya political leadership's desire to support Southern Sudan, but not in a way that would openly provoke Khartoum or potentially threaten South Sudan's eventual independence.

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
Vickers Mk3 Main battle tank 76  United Kingdom 105mm gun L-7
Vickers ARV Recovery tank 7 (4 with crane)  United Kingdom
T-72 T-72-AV Main battle tank (equipped with Kontakt-1 ERA) 110  Ukraine\ Russia 125mm gun
BRDM-3 Wheeled amphibious armoured personnel carrier 8x8 8+80 on order  Russia
BTR-60 Wheeled amphibious armoured personnel carrier 8x8 3  Soviet Union
Panhard AML Light armoured car 72  France AML-60\90 60 Mortar\90mm Gun 4x4
Panhard M3 Armoured personnel carrier 15  France In store 4x4
Ferret armoured car Wheeled armoured fighting vehicle 20  United Kingdom
Saladin armoured car Wheeled 6x6 10  United Kingdom FV601 76.2mm gun
Shorland armoured car Armoured car 8  United Kingdom
Saracen 6x6 APC FV-603 15  United Kingdom Out of service ?
BRM Armoured personnel carrier 85-105  Soviet Union
WZ551 Armoured personnel carrier 35  China
Humvee APC 4x4 100  United States
Thyssen Henschel UR-416 Armoured personnel carrier 52  Germany
Land Rover Defender  ???  United Kingdom
Mercedes Benz LA-911 Trucks  Germany
Steyr Sinotruck Troop carrier truck Initial Delivery 400  China\ Austria
Leyland trucks  United Kingdom
ACMAT 4.20 4x4 and 6.20 6x6 trucks  France
MAC AFV Transporters  United States
Grider Medium bridges  United Kingdom
PUMA M26-15 MRAP Initial Delivery 150  South Africa

[edit] Weapons inventory & other equipment:-

Name Type Quantity Notes
Heckler & Koch G3A3/4 Assault rifle 50,500+
Heckler & Koch PSG1 Sniper rifle 20+
Heckler & Koch MP5 Submachine gun
Heckler & Koch HK21A1 GPMG
Browning HP-35 Handgun
Sterling submachine gun MK-IV
AK-102 Assault rifle
AK-101 Assault rifle
AK-47 Assault rifle 40,000 plus Kenya Police
FN FAL L-1A1 Battle rifle
Saco M60 GPMG\LMG 17
Steyr MPi-69 SMG
Colt M16 \ M4A1 AR 10,000 plus
FN Herstal M249 SAW LMG 5,000
Barrett M107/Barrett M82 sniper rifle Anti-material rifle with AN/PVS-10 day/night optics 10+
FN MAG-60-20 Infanterie T.7\ L7A2 LMG
AAT-52 7.62N F.1 Char No.1 LMG
Browning M1919A-4 \ L3A3 MMG
Browning M2HB HMG
M79 GL
PK machine gun General purpose machine gun
Bofors 40mm L/70 Autocannon 13
Mistral MANPAD 60
Short Tigercat SAM 10 Launchers\ 30 missiles Out of service ?
Rapier SAM
SA-11 BUK1M SP-SAM Reported
Oerlikon GDF-002 2x35mm AAG
Oerlikon 20 mm cannon Autocannon 11
ZPU-4 Anti-aircraft gun 70
TCM-20 Anti-aircraft gun 2x20mm 70
M55 Quad mount Anti-aircraft gun 4x12.7mm
Carl Gustav recoilless rifle recoilless rifle 80
Wombat BAT-4 120mm RCL 6-14 Out of service?
MILAN Anti-tank 40 Launchers\ 400 missiles
Swingfire Anti-tank 14 Launchers\100 missiles
RPG-7V Rocket-propelled grenade
OTO Melara Mod 56 Pack Howitzer 8
L118 Light Gun Towed Howitzer 40
L16 81mm Mortar Mortar 50-60
120mm mortar Mortar 12
BM-21 Grad Multiple rocket launcher 41-51
2S7 Pion 203mm SP-GUN 6-25
Nora B-52 Self-propelled artillery 30
Night vision googles +
Body armor +
MK-6 Helmet\ MK-7 +
SPECTRA Helmet +
RACAL-Thales Radio systems +

[edit] Kenya Air Force

[edit] Kenya Navy

The Kenya Navy is composed of:

  • 2 offshore patrol vessels (During the 2011 refit Otomat missile systems were removed)
  • 6 inshore patrol vessels
  • 1 amphibious craft
  • 12 support vessel including patrol boats, landing ship, tug boats.

[edit] Kenya Police Service

The equipment of the Kenya Police and General Service Unit (GSU) a paramilitary wing of the Kenyan Police comprises:

  • 1 AS350 B3e Ecureuil helicopter (jan-2012) (France)
  • 7 Cessna aircraft, the latest (2011) being a Cessna 208 Caravan light aircraft (United States)
  • 3 Mil Mi-17 helicopters (Russia)
  • 1 MBB Bo 105 air ambulance helicopter (Germany)
  • 3 Bell-206 light helicopters[15] (United States)
  • Kenya Police Formations are:
    • General Service Unit
    • Anti Stock Theft
    • Criminal Investigation Department
    • Traffic Police Department
    • Kenya Police College
    • Kenya Police Airwing
    • Kenya Railway Police Unit
    • Kenya Police Dog Unit
    • Tourism Police Unit
    • Kenya Airports Police Unit
    • Maritime Police Unit
    • Diplomatic Police Unit
    • Anti-terrorist Police Unit

[edit] Personnel

The Kenyan Armed forces include about 63,000 personnel, including the army (55,000), the navy (2,500), the air force (5,000), and MOD headquarters staff (200).[citation needed] A number of Kenyan military personnel participate in international peacekeeping operations in war torn countries under the auspices of the United Nations. In 2000, women were integrated into the regular units of the military, and the Women's Service Corps disbanded. During the recent referendum activity the Kenya government deployed over 79,000 security personnel who included police,gsu,kws,national youth servuice,forest rangers and other specialist units on 4 August 2010.

In addition to the armed forces, Kenya employs up to 40,000 police and paramilitary personnel. The Kenya Police, which report to the Commissioner of Police in the office of the president, field about 60,000 officers. The General Service Unit (GSU) initially known as the Kenya Police Emergency Company, was established by the colonial government to battle Mau Mau freedom fighters during the fight for Kenya's independence. It now has around 9,000 paramilitary of which 2000 are Israeli trained and battle hardened (Recee group) that forms most of the Presidential guard,VIP and Diplomatic protection.

In addition, Administration Police (AP) 47000 report to local District Commissioners, who in turn report to the office of the President.We also have the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS)a state corporation paramilitary wing responsible with wildlife conservation and general protection,it consists of the trap unit,air wing unit,anti-poaching unit,scout unit,wildlife intelligence unit,wildlife protection unit and of late dog unit.It is a well trained wing that can easily surbodinate the military for guerilla warfare following the nature of their work in the wild environment,it is headed by the Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service.Last but not least we have the Kenya Forest Service rangers(KFS)a paramilitary unit that protects the forests of this country.

Finally, the National Youth Service (NYS), which is administered by the office of the president, provides some paramilitary training to young job trainees and are about 2500. Other forces include the Kenya Prisons with about 16,000 personnel. Military service is fulfilled by voluntary enlistment, generally for a period of nine years. However due to the present dismal economic situation, annual recruitment of new constables in all the military is not more than 2000 personnel. Kenya's armed forces combat worthiness against an opposing organised military in the field remains untested since independence.

[edit] Kenyan National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS)

In 1998, a new act of Parliament in Kenya established the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) to replace the former Directorate of Security Intelligence which was commonly known as the "Special Branch" and which was part of the Kenya Police Department [3]. The NSIS brief, like all other intelligence organisations, is to gather and exploit secret information. It identifies conditions that threaten Kenya's political, economic and social stability. It subsequently develops opportunities and strategies to neutralise such threats. The Current NSIS boss is Maj-Gen Michael Gichangi

In May 1999, President Daniel arap Moi appointed retired Brig. Wilson Bonett to head NSIS whose intelligence gathering work includes: internal, external and strategic intelligence. NSIS is divided into seven sections:

  • 1. Administration
  • 2. Information technology
  • 3. Internal intelligence
  • 4. External intelligence
  • 5. Analysis & production
  • 6. Operations
  • 7. National Intelligence Academy

It changed name and relocated from its notorious Nyati House offices to new headquarters on the outskirts of the city, near the Windsor Golf and Country Hotel. As the Director general of NSIS, Retired Brig. Boinet is the principal advisor of the President on matters relating to national security. In April 1999, the Moi government appointed Mrs Pamela Mboya, the former Permanent representative to the Habitat, to head a Committee that was charged with formulating a scheme of service for NSIS officers. Security of tenure given the director of NSIS is designed to protect him from such abuse by members of the governing elite. He has the opportunity to say 'no' to any unlawful or sectarian instructions from his bosses without fear of losing his job.[citation needed]

Officials of the new Intelligence body are:

  • Director of operations,
  • Director of external intelligence,
  • Director of internal intelligence,
  • Director of National Intelligence Academy,
  • Director of administration,
  • Director of economic affairs
  • Director of information technology.

[edit] Notes

[edit] References

  1. ^ Commission of Inquiry into the Post Election Violence
  2. ^ Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ The Standard 31 October 2010 Activists give military 5 days to re-admit recruit INTERNET Cited on 03 January 2011
  5. ^ The Standard Sh 1.6 billion tender rocks the DoD INTERNET Cited on 03 January 2011
  6. ^ For example the decision to acquire ex-Jordanian F5 fighter aircraft. See The Standard Kenya's 'new' fighter jets cannot take off INTERNET Cited on 03 January 2011
  7. ^ a b Security&Itemid=115 Kenyan ramps up security at Somali border, eyes al Shabaab
  8. ^ "Kenyan troops pursue al-Shabab into Somalia in Operation Linda Nchi". Al Jazeera English. 16 October 2011. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "The Kenya Army Formations". Kenya Government, Ministry of State for Defence. Retrieved 2011-08-09. 
  10. ^ "Trained in terror". Human Rights Watch (republished from The Guardian article of 30 July 2008). Retrieved 2011-07-08. 
  11. ^ Somali pirates warn off rescuers access date 27 September 2008 by the BBC. The Ukrainian Defence Minister Yury Yekhanurov confirmed 33 Russian T-72 tanks and "a substantial quantity of ammunition" were aboard the captured cargo ship, called the Faina".
  12. ^ [2] Los Angeles Times, retrieved 18 November 2008
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Sudan "arm-twisted govt" to get tanks". All 10 December 2010. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  15. ^ Kenya Security Information - Institute for Security Studies retrieved on May 28, 2007


[edit] Further reading

  • David A. Percox, Britain, Kenya and the cold war: imperial defence, colonial security and decolonisation, Volume 13 of International library of African studies, Tauris Academic Studies, I.B.Tauris, 2004, ISBN 1850434603, 9781850434603

[edit] External links

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