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Details of Al Shabaab attack on Kenyan forces emerge

By Standard Team
Updated Mon, January 18th 2016 at 00:00 GMT +3
Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo and Chief of Defence Forces Samson Mwathethe address the press at Wilson Airport after receiving four KDF soldiers who were injured in Somalia attack. ( Photo: Denish Ochieng)

The soldiers killed and injured by Al Shabaab at El Adde in Somalia's Gedo region belonged to 9th Kenya Rifles formation in Eldoret and arrived in Somalia by road two days before the attack by militants, military sources indicate.

KDF soldiers in Somalia under AMISOM are deployed for periods and are often rotated within Somalia itself or are withdrawn and replaced with other soldiers after a certain period.

The 9th Kenya Rifles is an infantry formation and the soldiers, some who were on their second tour of duty in Somalia, left Eldoret two weeks ago for Mandera before entering Somalia by road last week.

The sources also told The Standard that identification of the deceased and notification of families may take long because most of the bodies were dismembered extensively in the massive explosions.

Depending on the extent of dismemberment, a few may be identified by the tag which bears the soldier's name, blood group and other details.

Additional information on identity will come from debriefing of the injured but most information will be known from DNA sequencing of next of kin after collection of all available body parts from the scene of Kenya's worst battlefield carnage.

Although KDF and Somalia National Army (SNA) work in collaboration and the Somali forces are considered friendly forces, there is little or no interaction between soldiers and even SNA commanders are not allowed into KDF camps.

Foot patrols

SNA forces are often lightly armed and lack enough armour.

KDF's bases in Gedo are not similar to what readers are accustomed to in the permanent barracks—they are mainly tented or camouflage embankments in a flat and extensively cleared area, secured by watchtowers and armed sentries atop armoured personnel carriers (APC).

Besides moving in the APC, soldiers mount foot patrols in townships and are also supported by air cavalry helicopters and fixed-wing jet fighters in some missions.

The camps contain the command centre and include all sorts of teams including medical corps, fighting units, tank platoons, artillery and mortar batteries and teams, besides reconnaissance and other fighting units such as special forces.

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