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Time to review Somalia mission strategy

By The Standard | Published Mon, January 30th 2017 at 00:00, Updated January 29th 2017 at 20:02 GMT +3

Al Shabaab militias on Friday attacked a Kenyan military camp in Kulbiyow, Somalia, killing 68 Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers.

The official count puts the figure at only 9 soldiers killed.

This comes after another attack in January 2016 at El Adde, Somalia, left an unspecified number of soldiers dead although the official figures indicated 173.

To date, some families still don’t know where their kin, stationed at El Adde then, are.

This raises fundamental questions on why Kenyan military camps are more susceptible to being overrun by the militia, and why the Government is being economical with the truth.

Is it a failed mission? Does the level of preparedness have anything to do with claims by the United Nations monitoring group that KDF in Somalia is more concerned with side ventures than the defence of our borders? Do such attacks raise a case for the Government to reconsider KDF’s stay in Somalia?

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The US has indicated it will cut all aid to the war against terrorism in Africa.

Without intelligence reports, financial and technical support from the American Army, it is possible Amisom troops will be less effective. This calls for a change in strategy and re-evaluation of the situation.

KDF went into Somalia in 2011 under the ‘Linda Inchi’ operation. The goal was to protect our territorial integrity yet how this is effective with KDF deep inside Somalia rather than on the common border remains a puzzle.

This is not to say KDF has not made any gains. To a larger extent, they managed to drive out Al Shabaab from their strongholds like Kismayu, but that has just been about it for in the recent past, reports indicate Al Shabaab has been regrouping. The death of even a single Kenyan soldier in a foreign land for no just cause is unacceptable.

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