Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to intensify onslaught against al-Shabaab amid increased terror attacks by the insurgents who overran a Kenyan military camp in Somalia earlier on Friday.
Kenyatta said the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers will hunt down the Islamic militants involved in the Friday attack, warning that the “soldiers’ blood will not be shed in vain.”
“We will not be cowed by these cowards. With our allies, we will continue in Somalia to fulfill our mission. We will hunt down the criminals. Our soldiers’ blood will not be shed in vain,” he said in a statement.
The statement comes after the Al-Shabaab fighters launched an attack on a military base run by KDF serving under AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in El-Adde of Gedo region, southern Somalia, killing unknown number of soldiers.
Officials from both Kenya and Somalia said the militants first rammed a suicide car bomb into the gate of the base before forming inside the camp.
Al-Shabaab later claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it had taken over the base and killed more than 63 KDF soldiers. However, it has not been verified.
The East African nation has in the past reaffirmed its position, insisting that it will not be intimidated by terrorists and will not withdraw troops from Somalia despite pullout calls.
The government says the KDF deployment into Somalia has dismantled Al-Shabaab operations, networks, training and indoctrination bases, which posed grave danger to Kenya and the region.
In his statement, Kenyatta lauded the soldiers for swift response to protect their camp.
“Our gallant soldiers reacted swiftly to protect their camp, to protect their peace and stability that they are in Somalia to secure, and to protect our country from its enemies and their sympathizers,” Kenyatta said.
“Regrettably, some of our patriots in uniform paid the ultimate price. It is heart-breaking. I want to take this opportunity to express mine and the country’s deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of the fallen,” he said.
Meanwhile, reports from Somalia said Kenyan warplanes are heavily shelling the insurgent targets in areas where the soldiers were killed.