Refunds from the UN for Kenyan troops fighting Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia were above budget, a rare gesture following persistent low and delayed reimbursement.

The Treasury documents show that Kenya received Sh6.78 billion in the year to June against the targeted Sh6.44 billion with the early and extra payment being a boost for the Treasury, which is struggling to raise cash.

The reimbursement is done quarterly but the UN has previously failed to meet its refund targets, triggering protests from Kenya.

Reports by the BBC indicated that payments for the 22,000-strong African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) were being withheld over.

The speedy release of the billions comes after UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, while on an official visit to Kenya, pledged regular funding for troops fighting Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia.

Mr Guterres in the March 3 meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta said regular pay would strengthen the troops’ effort to restore security in Somalia. Nearly 4,000 Kenyan soldiers are part of the Amisom.

The international community provides $1,028 (Sh103,828) for each Amisom soldier each month. Their respective governments then deduct about $200 (Sh20,200) for administrative costs, meaning the soldiers take home about $800 (Sh83,628).

The soldiers receive the allowances through the government. The funds are only released to Amisom once accounts from the previous payment are signed off.

Kenya has in the past faced delay in reimbursement of the money, which was linked to the UN’s insistence on verification of the claims.

In October 2011, Kenya formally sent 4,660 soldiers to Somalia after incessant attacks and kidnapping of civilians by Al-Shabaab militants on its territory.

A year later, the UN Security Council gave Kenya the green light to join the Amisom, meaning the Treasury would not bear the full costs of incursion.

Amisom soldiers are drawn from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Sierra Leone and Kenya.