NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 15 – The Kenya Defence Forces operating under the African Union Mission in Somalia will not be recalled back to the country, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
While making his 4th State of the Nation address Wednesday, the Head of the State pointed out that peace has considerably been enhanced in the country and stability improved in Somalia, due to the continued peace operation in the war-torn neighbouring country.
“In 2011, we made a historic decision. We sent our men and women across the border in pursuit of an enemy dedicated to the destruction of our region and our motherland. Since then, and in collaboration with regional, as well the international allies, we moved the enemy out the territory, resources, and control of the people. Still, the threat remains and therefore we will continue our mission in Somalia,” President Kenyatta said.
The President, who asked Members of Parliament to observe a moment of silence for fallen Kenyans soldiers, said Al Shabaab has largely been incapacitated and stand no chance of launching any major attack in the country and the region.
He said: “If we fight the enemy in Somalia, we won’t have to fight them, here at home.”
KDF efforts in Somalia, together with that of other African missions, the terrorists had been weakened.
“In defence of our motherland and in fulfilling our international obligations to pursue peace and security, we have in the process lost some of our gallant officers,” he pointed out.
“This loss reminds us every day of the threat that is upon us. I stand here today to say that these gallant sons and daughters of our land has not fallen in vain. Their sacrifice for our freedom and our motherland strengthens our resolve. We remain unbowed; Kenya shall prevail, and our democracy will endure.”
He cited the recent successful elections in Somalia, where no single security incident was mentioned, despite the threat being real, following threats issued by the militia.
“Our efforts have led to the establishment of successive civilian governments in Somalia, including the recently concluded successful and peaceful election of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed,” the Head of State pointed out.
“Even as we recognise the sacrifices that have been made so far, we appreciate that this war is not yet won. I urge you all to stand firm in the support of our men and women as we continue our critical mission in Somalia.”
-War in South Sudan-
The President also assured the international community of Kenya’s continued role in restoring peace in South Sudan.
“Our efforts remain central to the search for a lasting solution. However, much more needs to be done to bridge the differences between the conflicting parties,” he said.
“In this regard, during my recent meeting with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, I assured him of Kenya’s unwavering commitment to the IGAD framework and other bilateral and multilateral efforts to contribute towards a durable solution.”
-Cost of the War-
Last year, in January, a Kenyan soldiers camp was overrun by the Al Shabaab in El-Adde area of Somalia, where more than 100 soldiers are believed to have been killed.
This year, another camp was attacked by the militia, claiming several lives of the KDF soldiers.
The President however vowed that their blood shall not be shed in vain.