Sunday, March 11, 2012
Kenyan troops battling Somali militants
have vowed to continue with pacification of liberated
areas in southern Somalia as they await deployment in
various parts of the Horn of Africa nation next week.
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Director
of Operations Information Colonel Cyrus Oguna told
journalists in Nairobi on Saturday the soldiers will
continue with pacification efforts even in areas
where the Al-Shabaab has lost control as there are
still remnants who are out to disrupt peace and
cause disharmony between KDF and the local
"Pockets of Al-Shabaab managed
to carry out attacks about 15 km from the common
border of Kenya and Somalia even as the troops have
advanced close to 100 km inside Somalia," he
The military officer said the Kenyan
troops who launched cross border military operation in
October last year are still in the transition phase
despite joining AMISOM, three weeks ago, after the UN
Security Council endorsed the re-hating move.
Oguna said on March 5, KDF ground
troops carried out attacks on Al-Shabaab positions in
Gerille town which is located close to the common
Somalia Kenya border.
"In the process three Al-Shabaab
were killed and five rifles recovered from the
militants," he added.
On the same day, he said, KDF troops
sunk a ship with four militia on board.
"They were challenged to stop
but KDF disabled the ship which later sunk," he
Oguna said that in the Afmadow area
KDF troops, during a regular patrol arrested four Al-Shabaab
members and several ammunition and equipment from the
movement were recovered.
He added that Tuesday’s air strike
by KDF on the town of Hayo killed several Al-Shabaab
fighters and in the process four technicals were
He said that on Wednesday, KDF raided
the town of Diff which is close to Kenyan border and
resulted in the death of two Al-Shabaab.
Oguna said that last Thursday
attacks on the town close to Afmadow, which served
as an Al-Shabaab base, they recovered several food
items including rice, beans and cooking oil.
"On Thursday six militants also
defected from the movement," he said.
He said that even as KDF has
rehatted, they are still in the aggressive pursuit
The development came as the African
Union is due to launch a new integrated military
strategy to fight the insurgents who have since teamed
up with Al-Qaida network to carry out further terror
attacks in East Africa.
Defence ministers and military
officers from the six East African countries met in
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Friday on the proposed new
approach in tackling the Islamic insurgency in the
Horn of Africa nation.
Oguna said the meeting is expected
to fine tune details of the Kenyan troops re-hatting
into African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
"KDF will release details in
the course of next week on the exact command
structure and deployment locations," Oguna said
six months after Kenyan troops entered Somalia.
He said that KDF is considering
rotating its troops that will serve under AMISOM after
every three or four months so that they have a chance
of visiting their families back home.
"We also hope to change the
current KDF troops who have been in Somalia since
October last and inject new troops within three
"The official handing over of
KDF into AMISOM will soon take place," the
military official said.
The East African nation which is
onslaught on the insurgents in southern part of the
Horn of Africa nation requested to integrated its
armed force with the AU-green-bereted AMISOM
"We cannot predict how long KDF
will stay in Somalia under AMISOM even after the
expiry of the AMISOM mandate in Oct.31, as the
decision will be made by African Union," Oguna
He said if the United Nations approves
a peace keeping force, the length of the stay of
Kenyan troops is not definitive and could reach up to
"The African Union will have
the ultimate say depending on the situation on the
ground. Even if the KDF stays in Somalia for a
lengthy period they will be under AMISOM or the UN
so the issue of Kenya as an occupation force will
not arise," Oguna said.
Sources say the military strategy
being drafted by the regional countries would task
each country with different zones with the aim of
avoiding contradictions in the military interventions.
Oguna also said that intelligence
showed that Al-Shabaab is at its lowest ebb which has
resulted in disagreements between local and foreign
"Some of the foreigners are
said to have moved close to Puntland in search for
safety and some have even expressed intent to
abandon the fight against KDF and AMSOM," he
"For us it is a good sign and
we hope that the militants will leave Somalia in
order to guarantee safety of Kenya," Oguna
He said that KDF on Friday sent a
delegation to AMISOM base in Mogadishu in order to
discuss operations as Kenya still has a stake in what
is happening in Mogadishu.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deputy
Director of Horn of Africa Division Lindsay Kiptiness
said that he UN will decide from what date they will
begin to reimburse Kenya for military equipment in use
The pan African body has demanded a
more coordinated and centrally commanded troops
operation in Somalia against Al-Shabaab which is in
its weakest position since September last year due to
the deteriorating humanitarian crisis and internal
divisions in its leadership