By Jacob Kioria/Judith Akolo
The government has dismissed renewed calls to withdraw the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) from war torn Somalia.
Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo who received four KDF officers who were wounded in war ravaged Somalia, said the KDF is part of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and will not leave until the Somalia is liberated from the terrorists.
The Cabinet Secretary said already the Kenya Defence Forces are engaging the perpetrators of the attack on the KDF camp at El Ade in Somalia.
“I wish to state that this attack will not rest unanswered,” said Omamo and added, “we have responded, we have engaged the perpetrators decisively and remain in full pursuit of them.”
Terming the attack atrocious and painful, the Defence Cabinet Secretary said, “it will not dampen the determination of our soldiers in the fight against terrorism.”
She said the attack has served to galvanize the resolve to pursue the terrorists more vigorously, “we are proud of our soldiers,” she added.
Stating the events of last Friday, Omamo said the attack was carried out by terrorists using vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VIBIED), “commandeered by suicide bombers,” she said noting that, the soldiers who came under attack were company size.
The Defence CS said search and recovery efforts are ongoing with the aim of finding all the KDF officers affected by the attack adding that the operation area “remains dangerous, volatile and fluid and soldiers still remain at risk”.
Sentiments that were corroborated by Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) General Samson Mwathethe who said the delay in divulging information was to concentrate first “as our norm with military operations was to degrade the enemy which we have already done through a concerted effort both land and air assets in the last 48 hours,” said the General Mwathethe.
He noted that as Al Shabaab evolve and compete for space, which is fast shrinking on the terrorists, “this will not undermine our operational and combat capability,’ said the Chief of Defence Forces.
He commended the Kenya Defence Forces for living up to the vision and mission, “ I commend you for the fighting spirit and professionalism that you have displayed,” and assured the relatives of the soldiers that the KDF fraternity will stand with them to the end.
“I reiterate the Commander in Chief’s assurance that the blood of our fallen heroes was not shed in vain,” and added, “we will smoke them out their caves.”
Al Shaabab militants attacked El Ade at 4am last Friday killing and maiming officers from the KDF and Somali National Army.
Speaking to the nation following the attack President Uhuru Kenyatta stated that Kenya will not be cowed by terror attacks and will together with its allies hunt down the criminals. “The Kenyan soldiers’ blood will not be shed in vain,” stated the head of state.
While sending condolences to the bereaved families the Commander in Chief said the country will stand with the families of the fallen soldiers.
“Our country stands with you. We deeply appreciate sacrifices made by your loved ones in defence of our democracy, peace and security,” the President said in a statement.