Kenya: "Our soldiers did not die in vain”- Kenyatta

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday vowed to defeat the Al Shabaab inside Somalia, insisting a military offensive launched in the Horn of Africa country after an attack on the African Union in Somalia (AMISOM) military base would nail those who carried out the attacks against Kenyan troops.

“We are unbowed,” President Kenyatta said in a televised national address as the Kenyan military began to airlift the bodies of those killed in Somalia during an attack on an AMISOM base in El Adde.

“We are determined and committed to pursuing those criminals who perpetrated this act and ensure that they shall pay heavily for their crimes,” he stated.

The Al Shabaab has claimed it carried out the attack against the Kenyan forces inside Somalia to retaliate what it said were extra-judicial killing of Muslims in Lamu and Mandera.

President Kenyatta said Al Shabaab’s aims were to destroy the “precious freedoms we have fought so hard to win.”

“We will not know peace so long as this threat of terror exists in our region,” President Kenyatta said. “We reaffirm our resolve to stand with the international community to free Somalia from the oppression of terrorist groups.”

The president's statement immediately drew the attention of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga who said he was gratified the President made assurances on the fate of the Kenyan troops still held inside Somalia.

“The forces of terror must not be allowed to spread mayhem in the region and in the world. They must remain unwelcome here at home in the same way they are unwelcome in Somalia and other parts of the world. On these, we stand together as one nation,” Odinga said.

The opposition was pressing the government to declare national mourning for the soldiers killed in Somalia.

However, President Kenyatta said the soldiers would be mourned in military style and tradition.

“Let us insist that our national security knows no politics, religion, or ethnic boundaries. Only the unity and resolve of a peace-loving people,” Kenyatta said, adding that the Kenyan military would defeat the Al Shabaab.

-0- PANA AO/AR 19Jan2016

19 january 2016 18:56:28

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