By STEVE MKAWALE
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) have wound up Operation Linda Nchi in Somalia after registering a string of success against Al Shabaab.
In 154 days the troops engaged the militia group capturing some 22 towns that were under the Al Qaeda linked terror group and managed to neutralise the threats Al Shabaab had posed to Kenya.
Military spokesman Col Cyrus Oguna said since the troops crossed the border into Somalia they have captured some 95,000 square kilometres of the lawless country making Somalis feel peaceful for the first time in the 21 years of war.
"Somali people now feel more peaceful than ever. Some of the refugee camps that were in Kenya have since been relocated to areas that KDF captured," he said.
Last October, KDF crossed to Somalia in an attempt to crack down on the militants responsible for a series of kidnappings of locals and foreigners.
Kenya will now operate under the African Union peacekeeping force (Amisom).
He said 4,660 soldiers will be part of the AU enforcement force in Somalia after the Government agreed on the command structure at Amisom. KDF will be part of the military council, which will be based in the restive Mogadishu with 16 of its staff being Kenyans and other nations will contribute 69 staff.
He said in the command structure, Kenya will provide one of the two deputy commanders and the head of the intelligence.
"The commander will have two deputies, one from Kenya and the other from Burundi. These deputies will be in the rank of major general," said Oguna on Saturday during the last Press briefing of the Operation Linda Nchi in Nairobi.
Oguna said two Kenyan military officers will be spokesman and head of intelligence of Amisom respectively.
"Since we moved into Somalia last year, we have not seen incidents of sea piracy. I must say we have managed to create a fairly safe buffer in Somalia," said the spokesman. He said a sector commander from KDF will command the Kenyan sector.