Uhuru defends KDF after scandalous report on charcoal

November 14, 2015 2:08 pm


President Kenyatta with former Military chief Julius Karangi who commanded the troops to Somalia. Photo/FILE.
President Kenyatta with former Military chief Julius Karangi who commanded the troops to Somalia. Photo/FILE.
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 14 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has expressed solidarity with the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) fighting in Somalia, and rubbished a report implicating them in sugar and charcoal smuggling racket.

Uhuru who spoke in Western Kenya has warned against trivialising KDF work, saying Kenya is safe because of the military work in the neighbouring lawless country.

“The other day I was very surprised. Some of our fellow Kenyans saying that our soldiers in Somalia are doing I do not know what. Instead of them being the first to see how we can protect the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives to protect us,” the head of state said, “I have never seen such stupidity in my whole life. I want to tell you all that as a government we will strongly stand by our soldiers in Somalia.”

He cited Friday night’s terror attack in France where more than 150 people were killed when terrorists stormed a cinema, stadium and restaurant.

“We know what they are doing every day to ensure that we all can sleep in safety. You have seen what happened in France where more than 128 people have died as a result of terrorists. You want us to allow these people to walk amongst us. You want our soldiers to come out from where they are protecting us so that these people can come into the country to bring us trouble,” he posed, and declared, “That is not possible.”

The report on the KDF by the Journalists for Justice group is based on months of research conducted in Somalia and Kenya, including interviews with serving Kenyan officers, United Nations officials, Western intelligence sources, sugar traders, porters and drivers.

The report also accused Kenyan troops of “widespread” human rights abuses — including rape, torture and abduction — and conducting air strikes “targeting crowds of people and animals” rather than the militant training camps it claims to bomb.

Kenyan army spokesman, Colonel David Obonyo, denied the allegations, insisting Kenyan soldiers were fighting hard as part of the 22,000-strong African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Kenya’s army has denied repeated allegations of war profiteering since invading Somalia in 2011 after a string of kidnappings of tourists and aid workers blamed on the Al Shabaab.
President Kenyatta called on Kenyans to fully support the Kenya Defence Forces and other security agencies, saying that is the only way Kenya can be safe.

“We should leave these soldiers to do their work and as a government and as Kenyans we are telling them that we are standing behind them as they do their work of protecting us. And that is how it is going to be. We do not care about these reports that we are hearing,” he said.

In the Paris attacks, a wave of coordinated attacks left more than 150 dead in scenes of carnage including scores massacred by attackers shouting “Allahu Akbar” during a rock concert and others in a suicide bombing near the national stadium.

Black-clad gunmen wielding AK-47s stormed into the Bataclan concert hall in eastern Paris and fired calmly and methodically at hundreds of screaming concert-goers.

Islamic State jihadists have claimed responsibility for the series of coordinated attacks that killed more than 150 people in scenes of carnage at a concert hall, restaurants and the national stadium.


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