KDF learns lesson and change tact

KDF officers lower the casket bearing the remains of Senior Private Alexander Waigwa who was among KDF officers fallen during a terror attack on El Adde, Somalia in January 2016. [Mose Sammy| Standard]
The El Adde attack on January 15, 2016 on the Kenya Defence Force (KDF) bases in Somalia by Al Shabaab insurgents has prompted reorganisation of key defensive positions on all camps.

Twice in a similar modus operandi, Al Shabaab fighters attacked KDF bases in Somalia leading to the highest death toll of Kenyan soldiers in battle. Two years later, the military bosses have never officially confirmed how many soldiers lost their lives.

Following lessons learnt after the attack, the Kenyan military mandarins sought to improve the defensive capabilities of the troops by withdrawing from some positions and beefing up others.

The troops were moved from Badhadhe to Sarira, Busar, Kulbiyow and Elwak and trenches created around the camps to stop the entry of Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices into the bases as happened in the unfortunate El Adde incident.

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“The re-adjustment and re-positioning of troops in camps in Somalia are some of the outcomes of lessons learnt after El Adde and Kulbiyow. Troops withdrew from some positions and improved defensive capabilities in other bases. That is why the attack in Kulbiyow did not succeed,” KDF Military spokesman David Obonyo says.

Reconnaissance aircraft have been deployed to monitor Al Shabaab fighters’ movement prior to striking them. Following the re-adjustments, KDF’s Special Forces intercepted and killed the attackers of the December 30, 2017 Ijara Police Station attack and destroyed the Land Cruiser that had been stolen.

Obonyo says Kenya’s entry into Somalia was a major game-changer because of the significant gains that were made by Amisom in the fight against Al Shabaab as many parts of the country were liberated from the terrorists and security restored.

“KDF liberated most areas in Sector II including the port of Kismayu. This coupled with Uganda’s liberation of Barawe effectively eliminated the piracy threat that had been rampant in the southern Somalia’s part of the Indian Ocean. Thanks to Amisom to which KDF is part today, Somalia is vibrant and has a functioning central government widely accepted. All this signifies the level of security in the country as VVIPs have the confidence to visit the country which was a terrorist hotbed,” Col Obonyo says.

The military spokesman says Heads of State, including President Uhuru Kenyatta, have been visiting Mogadishu for meetings with the Somalia President and as well as visit the troops in operational areas.

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Jubaland, which is in KDF’s operation in Sector II, has a functional federal government with an elected president Ahmed Madobe whose outfit Ras Kamboni Brigade fought alongside KDF to liberate the area.

Following KDF’s operations, security has been restored and the Somali National Army and other security agencies as slowly taking over responsibility as Amisom starts scaling down with the withdrawal last year of 1,000 troops and a further 1,000 expected to be pulled out this year.

kenya defence forcesEl adde attackal shabaab attack