Kudos KDF but what next after fall of Kismayu?


Intelligence reports point to high threats of imminent terror attacks in Kenya since the Kenya Defence Forces entered Kismayu port in Somalia. Islamic militants, Al Shabaab have vowed to hit back at Kenya for its involvement in Somalia; a move that has rooted out Al-Shabaab from most of its stronghold with the takeover of Kismayu in late September.

Kismayu was a significant source of revenue for the militants and its loss would be a serious blow to Al Shabab, a fact that may lead to guerrilla tactics being employed in an attempt to regain this economic hub.

Kenya moved into Somalia over a year ago after a spate of cross-border attacks in Mandera and Lamu were blamed on the Al Shabaab.

The militants have been forced out of the capital, Mogadishu and several other towns over the past year but still have control in parts of southern and central Somalia. Since the overthrow of President Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia has seen clan-based warlords; Islamist militants and its neighbours battle it out for one reason or the other. If it is Not Ethiopia, it is Kenya and when the borders are calm, Somalia clans are always fighting for control and power.

The presence of Kenyan forces in Somalia under the banner of AMISOM has not only angered the Al Shabaab but also made Kenya a prime target for Al Shabaab attacks. Al Shabab has issued public threats to Kenya and vowed to take the war to the Kenyan soil because of KDF Intervention in Somalia.

There has recently been a spate of grenade and armed attacks in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Garissa and the latest attack was reported on October 12 when two blasts rocked Nairobi’s Eastleigh Estate injuring several people among them the police boss in charge of the local police station.

Booby traps
The victims of the Eastleigh attack had gathered at the scene after the first explosion at Muratina Road and were badly injured in a second blast that took place at the same spot. The injured policeman was among the crowd of area residents and police officers who had rushed to the spot in response to the initial blast.

It is important to note that the Kenya Police had a week earlier warned the public to keep away from explosion scenes, saying they had intelligence that it was Al Shabaab’s plan to lure crowds before carrying out secondary and bigger blast.

Are Kenyans within and without our borders taking heed or are we going to witness more and more Kenyans; civilian and military being lured to their death traps?

On Sunday October 14, the KDF marked the first anniversary since Kenya invaded Somalia to flush out suspected Islamists believed to be behind kidnappings and incursions into Kenya. The mission ended with the recent successful takeover of the Somali port of Kismayu. In spite of the logistical challenges encountered in Somalia, bad weather and the harsh terrain, operation “Linda Nchi” has largely been considered a success with the down fall of Kismayu.

Kenyan soldiers have proven their might against all odds.

Over 4,000 Kenyan troops crossed into Somalia during the rainy season and quickly moved through the rough terrain, occupying territories previously controlled by the Al Shabaab who had set up Islamist courts to terrify local residents into submission. The Kenyan troops made history by romping into Kismayu on 28 September during a pre-dawn naval raid before fighting their way into other strategic locations, including the Kismayu University and the airport. This historic achievement is worth documenting to inform future interventions and hence the need to mark the KDF day.

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