Kenyans are once again questioning the government following an ambush by al Shabaab, whose details are not clear.
KDF troops were attacked at their base in Somalia at dawn on Friday, but government agencies have not disclosed the number of those killed.
The terrorists said at least 66 Kenyans were kiled at the base in the southern town of Kulbiyow. But KDF spokesman Paul Njuguna dismissed this as “propaganda from the enemy”.
Njuguna said the militants tried to access the camp using a Suicide Vehicle Borne IED but were repulsed. He said scores of terrorists were killed and that others were on the run.
The government’s narrative is reflective of the attack in El Adde on January 15, 2016.
Since the attack almost eight months ago, little is known about the incident termed as the most brutal assault on Kenyan soldiers despite the government’s promise of a probe.
Members of the public have been keen to note that Kenya has not learned any lessons, despite many ambushes locally and in Somalia.
“No lessons learnt from El-Adde. KDF needs to change tact in rooting out al Shabaab. This is the era of science in warfare,” Ayub Sh Abdikadir said via Twitter #KDFKulbiyow.
#KDFKulbiyow GoK has ceded the onerous task of info since El Adde to Shabaab. No chance it will be different.
— Kipruto Kertiony (@Kipruto17976277) January 27, 2017
A user identified as Kenya West said he had spoken to a source on the ground and learned that the camp was overrun in an assault similar to the one in El Adde.
“KDF yet to ascertain exact deaths,” the person wrote.
Why are you expecting clear answers from government on #KulbiyowAttack yet we still don’t have clear information on El-Adde attack.
— Levi Sitati (@sitati) January 27, 2017
“It is sad that the government is using the same script it used for El Adde…of denying the attack. So should we wait for the video?” asked Peter Ngwai.
— gathara (@gathara) January 27, 2017
- In both instances, the Kenya Defence Forces has not disclosed the number of fatalities. More than 100 soldiers were reportedly killed in last year’s attack and 66 in today’s.
- Al Shabaab has given a number of deaths that the government has dismissed as propaganda. But the group is known to exaggerate the number of people it kills in its assaults.
- Both attacks happened at dawn, on Fridays, and in January, and KDF soldiers were caught unaware.
- International news agencies have reported that the attack in Kulbiyow was carried out by the same group that stormed the El Adde camp.
- There was no reinforcement immediately after the attacks took place.
- Residents spotted dozens of bodies in the KDF uniform and fearing a show of might by the terror group.
A CNN report stated that the ease with which the militants breached barriers during the El Adde attack surprised many security analysts.
One Western diplomat based in the Somali said the attack on Kenya Defense Forces was clearly a “tactical disaster” for the Kenyans.
There was debate on whether Kenya should withdraw its soldiers from Somalia, but President Uhuru Kenyatta said this cannot be as members of the public will be more prone to attacks.
“Kenya will not be “cowed by cowards”, the President has said in his condolence message to the soldiers’ families.
He lauded the soldiers’ swift efforts to prevent more deaths in the attack at the El Adde African Union base.