by Bedah Mengo and
Chrispinus Omar NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The terror attack on Kenya’s
soldiers in Somalia by Al-Qaida linked terror group Al-Shabaab
has galvanised the country behind their security officers.
For the first time in a long-time, the country has united to
rally behind the military personnel who put their lives on the
line to keep citizens safe.
Unknown number of soldiers was killed in the Friday dawn
attack in El-Adde, southern Somalia and others taken hostage by
While full information about the casualties remains scanty,
the gravity of the attack has reverberated across the East
From hamlets to the capital Nairobi, Kenyans are shouting, "I
stand with Kenya Defence Forces (KDF)", a line that captures
their feelings towards the fallen heroes.
"I strongly condemn the Al-Shabaab attack. No soldier
deserves to die especially when trying to bring peace.
prayers with troops and their families.
"We will surely beat
terrorism," said Timothy Omondi, an accountant on Monday.
"God certainly will comfort families of slayed soldiers as we
"You died defending us, your work is not in vain," said
"These are sons, fathers, husbands and brothers of someone.
"We will never forget you.
"We stand by you as you stood by us
protecting the country," noted Maina Nyambura.
On social media, the hash tag "#63 is just not a number" has
been trending in the East African nation, with Kenyans using it
to pour support to the fallen soldiers and the military in
Memes have also been made and widely circulated on the
internet in support of families of soldiers killed and those
"We stand with families that lost their loved ones who were
fighting for the peace of our country # I stand with KDF," said
"I #stand with KDF...names and numbers of fallen heroes don’t
count, our enemies will remain defeated," Njaramba Mwaniki
James Mbaru said, "They died protecting our lives and
"May their families find the peace to endure the loss. #
I stand with KDF."
As a sign of solidarity with the military, Kenyans have
refrained from circulating on social media images of the
soldiers killed in the attack.
This is a departure from the past
where such images, distributed by the Al-Shabaab propaganda
team, would be shared to millions.
"It is a sign of maturity and the feeling of the pain
families of the soldiers have to endure as they wait to know the
fate of their loved ones.
"Kenyans did it during the Westgate
attack, the Garissa attack and the Mpeketoni attack abusing the
internet, but this time, I say thank you to all social media
users," said Bernard Mwaso, a software developer with Edell IT
Solution in Nairobi.
While there was a stern warning from the Interior Cabinet
Secretary Joseph Nkaiserry against sharing the images which
glorify acts of terrorism, Mwaso believed the caution alone
could not have deterred the sharing.
"Kenyans have come to the realisation that the country is at
war, and, thus, it is not only our soldiers who are fighting in
"Sharing the images aids the enemy," said Mwaso.
Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo said the militants
used three vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED) to
attack Kenyan soldiers numbering between 80 and 150 at their
"The soldiers affected by the attack are a company size
"The operation area remains dangerous, volatile and fluid
and soldiers still remain at risk," Omamo told journalists on
She said search, rescue and recovery operations have been
ongoing since the attack and will continue until all soldiers
have been recovered.
She vowed that the pre-dawn attack on Friday, the first
daring one since Kenya launched crossed border incursion in
Somalia in 2011, will not rest unanswered.
"We have responded, we have engaged the perpetrators
decisively and remain in full pursuit of them," she said.
"This atrocious terror attack, though extremely painful to us
as nation, will not dampen the determination of our soldiers in
the fight against terrorism. On the contrary, the attack
services to strengthen their resolve in the face of terror and
in the defense of our nation," Omamo affirmed.
She spoke as the four wounded Kenyan soldiers were airlifted
home amid claims by Al-Shabaab the number of dead Kenyan troops
had risen to 100. Xinhua could however verify that figure.
Al-Shabaab frequently exaggerates the number of
troops/civilians they massacre, while African Union mission
(AMISOM) rarely gives exact tolls.
But Kenya’s Chief of Defense Samson Mwathethe has warned that
Kenyan soldiers would be ruthless in their retaliatory attacks.
"We will fight them deep in their hideouts, we will smoke
them out of their caves and we will follow them to the end in
honour of every drop of blood Kenya has shed," Mwathethe added.
European Union says terrorists won’t deter efforts to
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The European Union has condemned
the Friday attack on Africa Union base in southern Somalia by
Al-Shabaab, saying such attacks will not prevent the world with
its efforts to stabilize the Horn of Africa nation.
In a statement issued in Nairobi, the EU said it will
continue working with the Somali authorities, the African Union
and other partners to enhance stability and Somalia’s capacity
to fight terrorism.
"Friday’s lethal attack by Al-Shabaab against an African
Union base in southern Somalia is another attempt to undermine a
political process towards a stable and secure Somalia and a
population desiring a life in peace," the EU said.
The EU expressed its condolences to the victims and their
families in Somalia and in Kenya who were killed, captured or
injured during the attack on Friday.
The EU said it’s a staunch supporter of AMISOM and the Somali
security forces who provide the necessary security for any of
the key political processes to be sustainably achieved in
"Acts of terrorism will not deter our efforts. The EU will
continue working with the Somali authorities, the AU and other
partners to enhance stability and Somalia’s capacity to fight
terrorism," the EU said.
The statement comes as Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) troops are
shelling El-Adde with bombs hitting centers of the town.
Residents could see smoke billowing from the military base which
was attacked by the militants on Friday.
Sources said Al-Shabaab withdrew its militants from El-Adde
overnight and the town is almost empty.
Both the Somali National Army and KDF serving under AU
mission in Somalia are carrying out an operation in and outside
El-Adde in Gedo region.
Colonel Abbas Ibrahim, Somali National Army Commander in Gedo
region said the forces are hunting Al-Shabaab militants and
called on residents who had fled the town to return to their
"We are in El-Adde neighborhood. The troops are working
together to fight against Al-Shabaab, we are still collecting
the information of the extent of casualties, Kenyan soldiers,
some Somali soldiers and civilians were among the dead in the
attack on Friday," Abbas told Xinhua.
The insurgents have claimed to have killed 100 Kenyan
soldiers and captured 12 others in the pre-dawn attack which has
been described as the most daring incident since KDF launched
cross border incursion in 2011.
Two of the alleged soldiers spoke to Al-Shabaab’s Radio
Andolus and demanded Kenyan government and AU to facilitate
Abdi Mohamud Abdulle, El-Adde resident said there is a
humanitarian crisis in the area as the displaced people lack
food and water.
"All the residents in El-Adde were evacuated after the
attack, I was the last one who remained and I left the place
from this morning. I prayed alone in the biggest mosque in the
area, people are dying of thirst and hunger.
"We had a drought in
the region, but the attack worsened the situation," Mohammed
Somalia determined to step up fights to eliminate Al-Shabaab
MOGADISHU (Xinhua) -- Somalia has vowed to step up efforts to
eliminate Islamist group Al-Shabaab following last Friday’s
attack on an African Union (AU) army base in its southern Gedo
Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke on Monday said the
attacks by "remnants of Al-Shabaab" would not prevent the
government from eradicating the group.
"Evidently the terrorist group is faced with mounting
pressure in their small hideaway pockets which is a result of
the well planned military operations carried out by the Somali
National Army and the AMISOM (AU Mission in Somalia) troops,"
Sharmake said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
Al-Shabaab claims to have killed 100 Kenyan soldiers and
captured 12 others in the attack. Kenyan President Uhuru
Kenyatta confirmed his country lost soldiers but the exact
number of casualties is not yet known.
Thirty-four Kenyan soldiers injured in the attack have been
flown home for treatment.
"I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the
families of the gallant soldiers who lost their lives, and to
the people and government of Kenya," Sharmake said.
He said the Somali and AU troops have intensified ground and
air operations in El-Adde where the attack took place.
The attack is described as the worst since Kenya sent its
troops to battle Al-Shabaab in southern Somalia in 2011.
Al-Shabaab usually exaggerates the death toll of their
attacks, while AMISOM rarely gives the exact numbers.
Kenya flies home 30 more injured soldiers in Somalia attack
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya on Monday airlifted 30
more soldiers injured in an Al-Shabaab attack in Somalia back to
the capital Nairobi for treatment.
The soldiers are part of the African Union force battling
Islamist group Al-Shabaab. Their camp in El-Adde, southern
Somalia was attacked by the militants last Friday.
Four injured soldiers were flown back on Sunday. The
authorities have set up 24-hour helplines for the families and
friends of the injured soldiers.
Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo who received the
soldiers said Kenyan soldiers would not be withdrawn from
Somalia "until they defeat Al-Shabaab".
Al-Shabaab claims to have killed 100 Kenyan soldiers in the
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed his country lost
soldiers but the official figures are yet to be released.
Omamo said the first batch of the soldiers’ remains would be
flown back in the evening.