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Kenya: Unanswered questions on El-adde

Sunday, July 3, 2016

KDF serving under Amisom man their position at El-Adde in the southwestern Gedo region of Somalia on January 22, 2016

On 15 January 2016 al Shabaab launched its most successful assault to date on an Amisom camp located within its Area of Operations in Somalia. Striking at first light, al Shabaab overran and destroyed a reinforced KDF rifle company - approximately 175 solders - deployed to EI Adde in Sector Two.

Although estimates of KDF casualties - Killed In Action - range as high as 141 to 185 - based on all available open source information, it appears that l15 to 120 troops were killed with less than 10 survivors sufficiently wounded to require medical evacuation to Nairobi; nearly 40 KDF members fled El Adde some 100kms to the Kenyan border, all officers were killed and an unknown number of troops are still missing.

A battalion size unit — 400 to 500 fighters —of al Shabaab breached the poorly defended El Adde perimeter with at least one massive suicide bomb borne in an armored vehicle captured from Burundi troops in June 2015; waves of the militant attackers using small arms — AK 47 assault rifles and RPG anti - tank weapons — assaulted through the El Adde base without meeting any organised resistance by the KDF officers. During the attack, the terrorists employed a number of vehicle mounted crew served heavy machine guns to pour fire into the KDF positions - mainly tents and relatively soft positions - as well as to target KDF armored fighting vehicles seemingly.parked non tactically within the camp perimeter.

The assault lasted well into the day on January,15; al Shabaab has released its own video accounts showing KDF dead strewn about the base and the troops - whether wounded or surrendering - being executed without mercy. Al Shabaab footage also shows that the EI Adde defensive positions were literally non-existent: There were seemingly no perimeter fences, fortified positions and bunkers, watch towers or integration of the company’s armored vehicles into its night defenses.

While the fighters were carrying away captured or abandoned KDF supplies and military equipment there was no reaction by Amisom forces deployed elsewhere in Sector Two nor from anywhere else in Somalia.

Since January 15, Amisom has neither offered any explanation for this major military defeat nor has it responded to queries from the media.The government has also not indicated whether the KDF investigated the circumstances surrounding this attack. Everything that could go wrong during an attack on a fixed defensive position by a determined enemy went wrong at El Adde.

The tactical preparations and technical competence of these troops assigned to Amisom was tested by Al Shabaab and found wanting. There is no indication today that anything has since changed for the better in Sector Two.


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