Kenya marks KDF Day, fires warning to Al-Shabaab in Somalia
NAIROBI - Kenya marked yet another emotional KDF Day which is held every 14th day of October with top generals and government officials directing their wrath against Al-Shabaab militants.
The special day is celebrated in all military barracks but the main event was held in Lang'ata Barracks on Monday, with top Kenyan government officials attending.
Incidentally, the celebrations which are effectively held to remember those who died or got injured during operations across the world took place a few hours after Saturday's IED explosion which killed 11 GSU officers in Dadaab Sub County.
Defense Secretary Raychelle Omamo insisted that the numerous setbacks which the soldiers may have gone through will not deter their mission of protecting the territorial integrity of Kenya.
"As a mother, I understand the pain you undergo when a loved one dies. As a government, we shall always stand with you. I am also happy that you have welfare that looks after some of those issues," she said.
"Despite the challenges, we remain committed to defending the country's borders. This is a commitment that we all made and nobody will intimidate us," added Ms Omamo.
Chief of Defense Forces General Samson Mwathethe, whose term expires next year in May, was more brutal, warning that Kenya will continue contributing troops to peacekeeping missions.
General Mwathethe hailed those serving in Somalia, adding that the KDF team will work around the clock to train the Somali National Army before leaving the Horn of Africa nation.
"Our mission to contribute troops to UN and AU will not be sabotaged. We shall continue working closely with SNA as we strategize on how to guard our borders and stabilize Somalia," he said.
"Our soldiers continue to face relationship challenges, monetary issues, and even post-traumatic disorders but we shall never abandon them. Our mission is to stand for one another."
Others who addressed the function include Vice Chief of Defense Forces Lieutenant General Robert Kibochi and Service Commanders Walter Raria (Army), Francis Ogolla (Kenya Air Force) and Levy Mghalu of Navy.
Kenya has previously suffered casualties in Somalia with at least 200 soldiers killed by Al-Shabaab at El Adde in 2016. A year later at Kulbiyow, Al-Shabaab ran over KDF base killing over 70 soldiers.
But the troops have nonetheless made several gains including liberating various towns among them Kismayo which was once regarded as Al-Shabaab bedrock. KDF has been working closely with Ahmed Madobe, the Jubaland President.
On Sunday, former Lagdera MP and National Assembly Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim exuded confidence that the security forces will weed out Al-Shabaab from the Horn of Africa.
"My heartfelt condolences to families of the officers who lost their lives in Dadaab Sub County defending our country. AlShabaab terrorists must be eradicated from the HOA. My prayers and thoughts are with them and their families," he said in a tweet.