, GILGIL, Kenya, Oct 14 — President Uhuru Kenyatta today announced that Kenya will not pull its soldiers out of Somalia until the troubled country achieves peace, stability and security.
The President said Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) will maintain their presence in Somalia under AMISOM until all terror networks operating from the war ravaged country are fully neutralized.
“We went to Somalia in 2011. We shall continue our presence in the country until the restoration of full security in Somalia,” said President Kenyatta
President Kenyatta spoke during the 7th annual KDF Day at Kenyatta Barracks in Gilgil, Nakuru County.
KDF Day is marked to commemorate Kenya’s fallen heroes and heroines who died while defending and protecting the sovereignity, territorial integrity, peace and freedom of the country.
The President said Kenyans are proud and appreciative of the proactive role played by KDF in security operations and peace initiatives in the region especially in the fight against terrorism, a challenge that continues to create fear and despondency among populations.
“Kenyans are proud of their soldiers and the professional, patriotic and disciplined manner they have handled themselves,” the Head of State said.
The President said Kenya cannot let down its guard until the complex transnational terror networks operating in the Horn of Africa region are completely removed.
President Kenyatta said there is need to ensure that Kenyan borders remain secure, a role the KDF has prayed with pride , courage and determination.
He said Kenya’s continued contribution of troops for peace missions was indicative of the government’s commitment to peace and security in the region and beyond.
While calling on soldiers to rededicate themselves to protect the sanctity of human life, remain united and maintain their high degree of integrity and accountability, the Head of State encouraged KDF to continue cooperating with other agencies in times of disasters and emergencies.
President Kenyatta acknowledged the role of KDF in supporting the police force whenever need arises including in disaster and emergency operations adding that the defence forces will play an even bigger role in ensuring the coast guards protect Kenya’s territorial waters especially now that the country is determined to harness resources of its blue economy.
During the ceremony, wives of gallant soldiers who had paid the ultimate prize while in the line of duty were presented with certificates and mementoes in recognition of their brave spouses.
Also presented with the mementoes and certificates of appreciation were serving soldiers celebrated for their heroic roles in various undertakings of the military including rescue missions, sabotaging enemy operations and sports among other successes.
Others who spoke at the colorful ceremony were Cabinet Secretaries Ambassador Raychelle Omamo (Defence), Monica Juma (Foreign Affairs and International Trade), Chief of Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe and retired General Ken Opande.
Earlier, President Uhuru Kenyatta opened a new Sh3.8 billion Kenya Defence Forces food agro-processing factory within the military barracks.
The new processor is the latest addition to the expanding Kenya Ordinances Factories Corporation and will be processing 1000 tonnes of food at its peak. Currently, it is processing 90 tonnes of supplies per day.
Some of the major beneficiaries of the new plant are food crop farmers in five neighboring counties namely Nakuru, Nyandarua, Narok, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nyeri whose vegetables including cabbages, carrots, kales and potatoes will be processed at the facility.
President Kenyatta lauded the KDF for setting pace in the food value addition sector, a key area with huge potential to create wealth and millions of jobs, a key component of his administration’s Big 4 Agenda.
“I am happy to note that the KDF is actively supporting the Big 4 vision. This initiative by KDF addresses the pillars on food security and manufacturing,” said the President
President Kenyatta made an extensive tour of the new factory accompanied by senior military officers led by the Chief of the Defence Forces, General S.J Mwathethe and host governor Lee Kinyanjui of Nakuru and Francis Kimemia of the neighbouring Nyandarua County.