NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 18 – The government says Kenya will not be bowed by the attack on an AMISOM base in Somalia that left a number of Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) soldiers dead and others injured.
According to the National Counter Terrorism Centre, KDF is currently combing the area around the El-Adde military base in the Gedo region, which borders Kenya and Ethiopia on a search and rescue mission.
The Centre’s director Martin Kimani has told Capital newsbeat that they will not relent until they eradicate the al-Shaba threat in the region.
“Our defense forces are going out after Al-Shabaab to seek justice for the attacks that we suffered and we are going after them. This will not stop,” he stated.
He further pointed out that the presence of KDF troops working under AMISOM has had a positive effect against the Al-Shabaab Militia group.
“KDF is engaged in an ongoing operation to go after the perpetrators of this attack and to ensure that we have fully secured the area and that our soldiers are taken care of. Some of our soldiers have been flown to Nairobi and others are in Wajir being taken care of. The KDF leadership is informing the families of those who lost their lives,” he stated.
Four KDF soldiers wounded in the Friday attack were flown to Nairobi on Sunday for specialized treatment. More soldiers were expected to be flown in during the week.
The base in southwest Somalia was attacked by Sheba fighters early on Friday morning, in the latest incident of an AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) base being overrun by the militants.
“We embarked on a search, rescue and recovery operation as a priority,” military chief Samson Mwathethe told reporters on Sunday morning in the capital Nairobi. “Our troops are engaging the terrorists.”
No official toll has given on the dead, injured or missing soldiers since the Friday pre-dawn attack described as the worst since Kenya sent its troops to the neighbouring country to fight the Al Shabaab insurgency.
A company of around 150 Kenyan soldiers was stationed at the El-Adde base when the attack occurred with the use of explosive-laden vehicles.
The attack was at least the third major assault on isolated AU bases in the last year.
In September, Al Shabaab fighters stormed a Ugandan AMISOM base in Janale district, 80 kilometres (50 miles) southwest of Mogadishu in the Lower Shabelle region.
And in June, Al Shabaab killed dozens of Burundian soldiers when they overran an AMISOM outpost northwest of Mogadishu.
The Al Shabaab, fighting to overthrow Somalia’s internationally-backed and AU-protected government, has lost much territory in Somalia but continues to launch attacks there as well as in Kenya, killing at least 67 people at Nairobi’s Westgate Mall in 2013 and massacring 148 people at a university in Garissa last April.