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KDF won’t talk with Shabaab on kidnaps

The Star
Monday, February 20, 2012

THE Kenya Defense Forces have ruled out any possibility of negotiating with the al Shabaab militia group in a bid to rescue the more than 10 Kenyans being held hostage in Somalia. Instead the forces have indicated that they will be relying on local people and religious groups who support the attacks on the insurgents, in efforts to rescue the Kenyan captives.

KDF have further exuded confidence that they will render the militia group powerless, and restore Kenya and Somalia's dignity and glory. Last week the forces killed four al Shabaab militia and recovered four AK 47 machine guns and communication gadgets that were being used by the terror group.

Consequently, one KDF soldier was killed by the insurgents in the ensuing battle,  a situation the head of Operation Linda Nchi, Cyrus Oguna said will not dampen the combatants' spirit. “Any country has the option to move in and secure its borders,” Oguna said adding that the soldiers will remain steadfast on the war front until Kenyans feel safe.

It is believed that the seizure of key border points along the coastal line by KDF has rendered al Shabaab less powerful, as it lacks the main points of accessing vital resources. “Our being in Somalia will go on until that time the people of Kenya and Somalia feel safe from the attacks of the Al Shabaab,” he said.

Oguna reiterated the forces' knowledge of the daunting task they are faced with, and said the squad on the ground is sure of what it is engaging in, and that victory will be on its side. He hailed the achievements realized in the last 126 days that the forces have been engaging in the war, saying they have liberated a huge area previously occupied by Al Shabaab.

The forces are said to have freed 95,000 kilometers which had been under the command of the Al Shabaab, with most towns in the north, central and south having been reclaimed. “Danasa town which has a population of 6,000 people had previously been evacuated, but the people have since come back,” Oguna said, and gave credit to combined forces from KDF and Somalia's Transitional Federal Government.

He further hailed the support from the local communities, and confirmed that people living in Badade town resorted to burning the Al Shabaab flag when the soldiers took control of the place. “Let us continue supporting the efforts of our soldiers in Somalia by being more vigilant,” he said and added that the recent merger of Al Qaeda with the insurgents continues to pose a threat. “We are still not safe,” he said. 30 people mostly from northern Kenya are estimated to have died from terror related attacks since the commencement of the war.


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