Uhuru Kenyatta “KDF will stay in Somalia to stabilise the region”

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Kenyan military will stay in Somalia to fight Al-Shabaab until peace and stability is restored to the region, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said.

The East African nation sent troops to Somalia in 2011 to neutralize Al-Shabaab fighters who were accused of kidnapping several people from Kenya.

A year later, the UN Security Council gave Kenya the green light to join Amisom, a decision that meant the Treasury would not bear the full costs of the incursion.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the sixth batch of military cadets in Gilgil town on Thursday, President Uhuru said Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) will continue their work in Somalia until the Horn of African nation returns to full normalcy.

“Our defence forces remain steadfast in their mission to bring peace and lasting stability in the horn of Africa region with unwavering zeal and determination,” said President Uhuru, “And in pursuance of this objective and that of the international community our troops will continue being part of AMISOM until such time that our objective has been achieved.”

Kenyatta called on the new officers to keep the tradition of the Kenya Defence Forces of being among the best soldiers in the world.

“KDF has a track record for discipline and respect that is recognized nationally and internationally,” said the president.

The president said the current training program is informed by the new challenges Kenya is facing including cross-border threats such as terrorism and other forms of trans-boundary criminal activities.

The newly commissioned officers have been trained under the new curriculum which incorporates academic and character development studies leading to the award of a Bachelors degree in military and security studies.

This is besides the professional military training which predominantly entails tactics and physical endurance required to survive in the battlefield.

The degree course is administered by the Kenya Military Academy in partnership with Kenyatta University.

Kenyatta said the training was revamped to respond to the complex nature of security challenges facing Kenya and the world and is tailored to produce highly competent military officers not just for Kenya but for allied neighboring countries as well.

Though Kenya has never made public the number of its troops killed or amount of money it has spent on the war on Al-Shabaab, the country suffered the highest death toll when compared to its AMISOM partners.

Key among the numbers which remain a military secret is how many soldiers died in the twin Kulbiyow (2017) and El Adde (2016) attacks. A tally from various media reports shows at least 1,000 Kenyans have died since 2011.