NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 20 – The United States has given 12 Bastion Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) to the Kenya Defence Forces in a move meant to improve border surveillance.
The APCs are set to support KDF’s efforts in the fight against extremists, including the use of Improvised Explosive Devices along the porous border between Kenya and war-torn Somalia.
US Defence Attaché and Senior Defence Official Colonel Kevin Balisky says defeating the threat of IEDs is a critical component of denying violent extremists freedom of movement.
“These vehicles represent the unwavering US commitment to Kenya and our shared national security interests,” Colonel Balisky said.
“As the KDF continues to conduct daily operations against violent extremism, these vehicles will enhance the mobility and force protection of their troops in harm’s way.”
He noted that the US Government was, “proud to be friends and partners with the KDF as they secure and develop peace in the border region.”
Kenya has lost tens of her security personnel to IED attacks by the Somalia based Al-Shabaab militants.
The United States is currently providing a three-week train-the-trainer course for Kenya Army operators and maintainers of the Bastion APCs.
– Previous IED attacks –
On June 6, five police officers were killed in an Al Shabaab attack in Liboi after their vehicle was blown up after driving over an Improvised Explosive Device.
On August 29, five Kenya Defence Forces soldiers were killed after their vehicle hit an IED on the Kiunga and Sankuri Road in Lamu County.
Ten other soldiers sustained serious injuries.
On May 8, in yet another IED attack, eight soldiers were killed while two others sustained injuries.
They were aboard a vehicle which was blown up by an Improvised Explosive Device.
Since 2007, Al Shabaab has fought to overthrow successive internationally-backed governments in Mogadishu.
The militants began attacking Kenya in 2011 after Nairobi ordered its troops into Somalia to fight the militants where they are part of a 22,000-strong African Union mission to Somalia (AMISOM).
It is in 2011 that the Al-Qaeda affiliated group was pushed out of Mogadishu, the Somali capital and subsequently from other key towns including the port city of Kismayu.