President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday praised Kenya Defence Force’s strategies in fighting Al-Shabaab, saying they had borne fruit because the terror gang had failed to carry out any major attack in the country in the last two years.
He said the troops in Somalia and those deployed to Boni Forest in Lamu had neutralised the terrorist group’s plans in Kenya and the region.
Speaking during a passing-out parade at the military Recruits Training School in Eldoret, the President said KDF had helped make the country safer.
“Our engagements have indeed degraded Al-Shabaab’s ability to attack in Kenya and elsewhere,” he said, adding that he was keen on protecting Kenya from any aggression by the group in his last term in office.
“Part of my duty as commander-in-chief is the protection of Kenyans and preservation of Kenya’s integrity under the Constitution and that is why I continue to laud the efforts of the Kenya Defence Forces in their fight against terrorism in Somalia and closer to home as part of the multi-agency force currently in Boni Forest,” he added.
Kenya sent its troops to Somalia in 2011 following persistent attacks and kidnappings by members of the Al-Shabaab.
Since then the group has successfully carried out occasional attacks in Kenya although most have been restricted to counties bordering Somalia, the last being at the Garissa University College in 2015 where 148 people were killed by gunmen linked to the group.
The last major attack outside North Eastern was at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi in September 2013 when its members shot at customers killing dozens.
Last year, the government deployed troops to Boni Forest to flush out a faction of the terror group that was said to have moved there after being kicked out of Somalia.
On Thursday, the President said efforts of those who have fought in defence of the country would not be forgotten.
“When this entire region is finally at peace, it will be because the men and women of this service fought bravely for peace, for prosperity and for freedom and equality under law,” said the President who also paid tribute to those who have died in Somalia, saying they paid the ultimate price while defending their compatriots.
“I stand here today to say that these sons and daughters of Kenya have not fallen in vain. Their sacrifice for our freedom strengthens our resolve to fight the enemy and to destroy him once and for all,” said the President.
The Head of State pointed out that the Kenya Defence Forces remained a symbol of the country’s nationhood and a leading example of its unity.
The forces unity and cohesion stand as proof of the greatness that can be achieved when all Kenyans live in harmony, he said and urged the public to emulate the example of the country’s forces who serve the country selflessly and diligently.