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Slain KDF officer defied father's advice to resign from army

By Alex Wakhisi | February 6th 2017
Victor Shipiti was one of the KDF officers who died at Kulbiyow after an attack by Al-Shabaab. (Photo: Benjamin Sakwa/Standard)

One of the soldiers killed in a terrorist attack on a Kenyan military camp in Somalia had told his wife, a day to the attack, that he was contemplating quitting.

"Life is hard in Somalia. We don't know when the enemy will strike. When my contract expires I will quit KDF," were the last words Victor Shipiti told his wife Purity Kendi.

He was among KDF officers killed during the Al Shabaab attack on Kulbiyow military camp.

Mr Shipiti, 33, had defied a request by his father, James Iravonga, to resign from the military last year.

This was the third time he was in Somalia to fight Al Shabaab. Last year, he narrowly escaped death after the militia group attacked them along the Kenya-Somalia border.

"Last time he visited us at home I asked him to resign but it seems he did not want to do so. He kept quiet only to tell me he signed a contract to serve the country," said Mr Iravonga.

"He did not tell me when he went back to Somalia. I just got information from his wife that their camp in Somalia was attacked and he was among those who perished."

Mourners have been streaming into the family's home in Kapsotik village, Vihiga County, to condole with them as they struggle to come to terms with the sudden death of their loved one.

Iravonga said he will miss his son who used to send him money for family upkeep and paid fees for his siblings.

"He was supportive of the family. He did not neglect anyone. I am in a dilemma and I do not know what to do next," said the father.

His mother, Rosemary Ayuma, said: "He had a lot of plans but they are gone with the wind. He was a happy and disciplined son. I will miss him."

Ms Kendi said raising her two children, who are in lower primary school, without her husband will be hard for her.

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