The President’s statement did not state the exact number of soldiers killed, only stating that “our soldiers’ blood will not be shed in vain”.
The attack occurred when Al Shabaab terrorists attacked the AMISOM base in El Adde at about 4 am.
“Regrettably, some of our patriots in uniform paid the ultimate price. It is heart-breaking,” President Kenyatta said, and vowed “We will not be cowed by these cowards. With our allies, we will continue in Somalia to fulfil our mission.”
Several Al Shabaab terrorists were also reported to have been killed in the attack which was described as the worst since Kenya Defence Forces crossed over into Somalia to fight the terror group that has links with Al Qaeda and ISIS.
“We will hunt down the criminals involved in today’s events,” President Kenyatta stressed.
And following the attack, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet urged Kenyans to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity or persons, because of the increased terror threats globally.
“I call on Kenyans to maintain vigilance at all times after these latest attacks in Somalia and Indonesia,” Boinnet told Capital FM News on telephone, and advised owners of buildings, hotels as well as public transport operators to thoroughly scrutinize their customers for security reasons.
Boinnet had in December warned that the terror threat in the country was real after Al Shabaab terrorists split into two with one supporting Al Qaeda and another ISIS.
CORD leader Raila Odinga too sent condolences to families of the Kenyan soldiers killed in Friday’s attack, saying “as a nation we must stand together in condemning this brutal and brazen attack on freedom.”
Reports from Somalia indicate that the attack occurred when the insurgents rammed a suicide car bomb at the military base to gain entry.
“They launched an offensive on a military base at El-Adde and there was heavy fighting which caused casualties,” Somali army colonel Idris Ahmed said, adding an Al Shabaab suicide commando blasted a way into the base in the Gedo region, which borders Kenya and Ethiopia.
Both Somali troops and Kenyan soldiers with the AU force, AMISOM, are deployed at the isolated base.
“There was a suicide attack followed by the fighting and it seems that the base was stormed,” Ahmed said.
“AMISOM can confirm that there was an attack on our troops in El-Adde,” the force said in a brief statement hours after the attack began, but gave no further details.