Inside busy KDF medical facility where gun, scalpel go hand in hand
SEE ALSO :Car bomb kills 61 people in MogadishuNew life Suddenly, the heavens unloosen choreographed chaos sufficient to make the enemies quake in their cells. To append their signature in the unfolding script, the camouflaged machine gun also opens fire. A few kilometers away, four men cow in their cells. This was quite some welcome for four outlaws from Tanzania captured in the heartland of Jubaland in Somalia. They were trying to adapt to a new life in a tiny cell very far away from the 72 virgins promised by their recruiters. Here, they were not martyrs but common criminals wanted for mass murder.
SEE ALSO :Puzzle of terror raid on US baseWahome says he has treated a lot of soldiers from Kenya and SNA as well as civilians at the referral hospital run by the KDF. But even in the ward, the deadly enemy has been known to sneak in at the most unexpected time, and so the scalpel and the bayonet are never far away. No one knows which will be needed when. That is why Wahome and his colleagues have their guns at the ready, even when they are undertaking complicated surgeries. When we visited the facility, a doctor kitted in his pseudo shoes over his military boots and the theatre operation uniform is clutching an AK 47 rifle, his finger at the trigger ready for any eventuality. Referral hospital The medical officer in charge of the military facility inside the Dhobley KDF command headquarters, JM Mnjalla, is also wielding a loaded rifle as he does his round in the wards. “Sometimes back, a patient was rushed into a local hospital in an ambulance. As medics were preparing to receive him and save his life, the ambulance exploded. It was Al Shabaab disguised as a patient,” he says. Since February this year, Mnjalla says they have treated 85 patients, some of whom were soldiers blown up by explosives, but the majority being locals. “Somalia’s healthcare is tattered. We are a referral hospital and we handle most of the cases. However, the most complex which require specialised treatment are referred to Nairobi where the patients are flown in African Union or KDF choppers,” Mnjalla adds. In one of the wards, five year old Deko Abdi is coiled in his bed alone and sleeping. He is recovering from a rare case of cancer triggered by a prick from a poisonous thorn. His mother, Galan Abdi, is breastfeeding her youngest baby who is barely a year old from the next bed, which has been her home since May 8. “I do not know what I would have done. At first I went to the public hospital at Dobley but I was referred here. He is responding well after he underwent some skin grafting and I hope to go home soon,” says Galan through an interpreter. According to the military doctors, the most common ailments afflicting both troops and locals are Al Shabaab inflicted gunshot injuries, hemorrhoid fissures, anal sphincters and skin problems. Although the primary responsibility for Kenyan troops working in Jubaland is to wipe out Al Shabaab, Brigadier Ruto says he has to ensure that businesses and people are safe. “Our mandate’s strategic task is to see Somalia take over all state institutions by December 2021,” says Ruto. Amisom Force Spokesperson Lt Col Charles Imbiakha explains: “Besides flushing out the insurgents, they are involved in renovation of schools, drilling of boreholes as well as road engineering.” At the end of the day, as the special representative of the AU Chairperson, Fransesco Jose Madeira explains, what matters is not the number of insurgents killed by Amisom troops. “What is important to us is the number of Somalis won over so that normalcy can return. This is the only guarantee that when Amisom troops are withdrawn in the next one year, the country will be stable.” Supply routes Major General Nakibus Lakara, the man commanding all the 4,000 Amisom troops in Somalia, says it is difficult to completely wipe out the insurgents. In a bid to open up the regions under AU troops, Amisom is undertaking road engineering to create supply routes where there are none, expand roads and create diversions where Al Shabaab has been placing their explosive devices. The road to the future for Somalia looks misty and bumpy but the UN, Amisom and indeed the whole world is optimistic that as early as next year, the war torn country will ultimately know peace.
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