NAIROBI, Kenya. Sept 8- Approximately 400 Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) troops are back in the country from Somalia where they have been fighting the Al Shabaab for close to a year now.
Troops replacing those who returned home have already arrived in the various parts of Somalia vacated as the war against the militia is stepped up.
Speaking during their reception at the Lang’ata Barrack’s, Army Commander Lieutenant General Joseph Kiptoo Kasaon said that they will be awarded ‘Linda Nchi’ medals by the President in recognition of their sacrifice and service to the nation.
“Working as a soldier is a calling; it is not an ordinary job. It’s between life and death,” said the Commander.
“We are just back to dust off, oil our guns and when it is time to go again we will leave,” he emphasized.
Lt. Gen Kasaon announced that President Kibaki as Chief Commander of the Armed Forces had directed that October 14 be made KDF day for the forces to celebrate the day when they were deployed to their primary stations in Somalia when Operation Linda Nchi’ began.
He said that Kenya must remain vigilant but added that the KDF will stand firm to safeguard the nation’s territorial integrity.
Lt. Gen Kasaon said that the KDF- now re- hatted to the African Union Mission in Somalia – AMISOM- had proved many doubters wrong by taking over many towns in lawless Somalia, decimating Al Shabaab operations.
“Before, people had doubts about us we don’t want to answer them; our work will speak for itself. We have captured many towns and soon you will see where we will be,” he said predicting victory in the takeover of Kismayu.
KDF soldiers crossed into Somalia in mid October last year and have been pushing deep into the war torn country, capturing most regions occupied by Al Shabaab.
The entry of KDF troops was in response to activities of the Al Shabaab militants who were accused of kidnapping several people, including foreigners from Kenya.
AMISOM and Somali forces are now closing in on Kismayu and intend to capture it from Al Shabaab militants.