Kenyan security agents have established that hundreds of al-Shabaab fighters involved in the attack on the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in Somalia were Kenyan youths recruited into the terror group.
There is suspicion indigenous Somali fighters are using foreign fighters, especially Kenyans and Tanzanians, as their first-line-of-attack fighters. The Kenyan youths were part of the second wave of attack that accompanied the third explosive-laden vehicle that crashed across the fence after the first attack.
Reports indicate more than 500 attackers participated. They attempted to overrun the Kulbiyow KDF camp that had at least 120 officers and soldiers that fateful night. Security agents are yet to release the number of Shabaab fighters killed during the attack, though KDF spokesperson Colonel Paul Njuguna said KDF suffered nine casualties — two officers and seven servicemen.
Survivors of the Kulbiyow attack said the attackers arrived in the wee hours of Friday morning with two Suicide Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices, which exploded at the gate. They were in the company of the first wave of attackers. Ill-trained youths from Somalia and new Kenyan recruits were pushed to attack.
“The first attackers were not so well-trained. They accompanied the explosives-laden vehicles and communicated to each other in Kiswahili. The second wave had more mature fighters, some Arab-looking, while others spoke in Kiswahili too,” one of the survivors said yesterday.
The first group consisted of mostly kidnapped Somali youths threatened and coerced to participate in the attack. They constituted the biggest proportion of the Shabaab casualties.
After exhausting their ammunition and most of the young fighters, Shabaab commanders sent in the second wave that comprised foreign fighters, mostly from Kenya, Tanzania and other countries. They attacked as they escorted the third SVBIED vehicle.
Then came the third wave that comprised well-trained Somali fighters accompanied by photographers, who recorded the attack in videos and still pictures. They looted the camp and carried away the bodies of their accomplices before KDF reinforcements arrived.
The third group moved in after fighting had subsided. It operated with minimal combat. KDF battle damage assessment teams have established hundreds of Kenyan youths are among the Shabaab rank and file. They are mainly from the Somali and coastal communities.