Remain vigilant, Mwathethe tells KDF troops in Somalia
Chief of Defence Forces (KDF) General Samson Mwathethe has urged Kenyan troops in Somalia to remain vigilant, saying the war against terror in the country can only succeed if Somalia is free of al Shabaab militants.
He said KDF troops, under the Africa Union Mission in Somalia, are playing a key role in securing the region.
Speaking when he made a visit to troops in Somalia on Saturday, Mwathethe said the government would continue equipping KDF to enable them to discharge their mandate smoothly.
“We are in Somalia because we know that if Somalia is free of al Shabaab and terrorism, Kenya will also be free of the scourge,” he said.
Mwathethe visited soldiers in the Kuday Forward Operating Base in Badhadhe District, Lower Juba.
“Our actions and successes here will safeguard a Kenya, devoid of fear of terror attacks that have from time to time been launched at home,” he added.
He said the presence of KDF soldiers in Kuday had changed fortunes of the local community.
“I am thankful that you continue to have good relations with the local population. You have assisted in building schools and improving existing infrastructure.
You have provided medical care for them, the numbers of school going children have significantly increased,” he said.
“Even when you are here, we want you to know that we are thinking of you, we can never forget you. We wish you success in the execution of your mandate in Somalia,” he added.
The Kenya Navy commander Maj Gen Levi Mghalu told the troops that the Navy would continue supporting the ground forces.
“I commend you for the very good work that you are doing here. Kenya Navy will continue to assist you, to the best of our capability,” he said.
Mwathethe was accompanied by the General Officer Commanding Eastern Command Maj-Gen Ayub Matiri, the Director of Military Intelligence Maj-Gen Said Farah, AMISOM Sector 2 commander Brigadier Dickson Ruto, AMISOM Sector 6, Brigadier Juma Mwinyikai, and the Chief of Operations Kenya Army, Brigadier William Shume among others.
Kenya’s incursion into southern Somalia started after the October 13 kidnapping of two Spanish women who were working for Médecins Sans Frontières at the Dadaab refugee camp.
The abductions were allegedly carried out by Al Shabaab militants. One month, later the government agreed to re-hat its forces under the African Union Mission in Somalia.
The troops from Kenya were later formally integrated into AMISOM on February 22, 2012 after the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2036.