, NAIROBI, Kenya Sept 6 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has lauded the United States for killing Al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, the mastermind of the Westgate terror attack, during last Monday’s airstrike.
In a statement from State House, President Kenyatta said the country “owes the US and its soldiers for bringing an end to Godane’s career of death and destruction, by allowing the beginning of the healing process.”
“We owe the United States, and its soldiers, our heartfelt thanks for bringing an end to Godane’s career of death and destruction; and finally allowing us to begin our healing process, the President said, a day after White House confirmed that it had killed Godane in the Monday airstrike.
“We are glad because these efforts remind us that as much as we need solidarity between Africans to defeat terror and other threats to our security, solidarity between us and our other partners also promises much. I am delighted to note that we remain on track to meet our goals and that the Kenya Defense Forces are at the very forefront of these efforts,” he said.
The first anniversary of the deadly terror attack that left 76 people dead will be commemorated on September 21.
President Kenyatta further pointed out that Kenya, with its partners and allies, will do everything it can to secure itself and the region and that it stands in solidarity with the victims of the Westgate attack.
“His death is a stark reminder that those who live by the sword shall perish by the sword,” President Kenyatta.
White House said on Friday that Godane’s death is “a major symbolic and operational loss to the largest Al-Qaeda affiliate in Africa and reflects years of painstaking work by our intelligence, military and law enforcement professionals.”
His killing was confirmed by Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby in a statement released late Friday that stated that “We have confirmed that Ahmed Godane, the co-founder of al-Shabaab, has been killed in an air raid carried out on Monday.”
The attack was launched at 1520 GMT on Monday, with both drones and manned aircraft bombing a gathering of Al Shaabab commanders, using Hellfire missiles and laser-guided bombs.
The State Department had listed Godane as one of the world’s eight top terror fugitives and analysts say his death would marks a serious setback for the militia.
Last October, US special operations forces launched an attack on a house in Barawe against another top Al Shaabab commander but were forced to withdraw without killing their target.
Al Shaabab militants are fighting to overthrow the Somali government, regularly launching attacks against state targets and in neighboring countries that contribute to the African Union force there.