The Star (Nairobi)

10 September 2012

Kenya: Two Shabaab Chiefs Killed As 400 Soldiers Return Home

Two al-Shabaab commanders were on Friday killed during fighting between them and Amisom commandos in the outskirts of Kismayu. The al Shabaab commanders identified as Sheikh Yousuf and Sheikh Barayani were killed by a joint KDF, Somalia National Army and Ras Kamboni Brigade force.

The insurgent group's commanders were and a yet to be known number of their fighters killed while attempting to retake areas captured by KDF, SNA, and Ras Kamboni militia. Heavy mortar and artillery fire were sued during the battle in which two technicals and and two lorries were destroyed and thirty of the al Qaeda linked fighters injured.

The fighting occurred as the first batch of 400 KDF soldiers under Amisom returned home to a hero's welcome in a ceremony held at the Langata Barracks on Saturday. The returned soldiers, the first to have gone to war under the Operation Linda Mpaka will each receive a medal for their service to the country.

According to Army Commander Lt. General Joseph Kasaon, the soldiers who managed to pacify over 100,000 square kilometres from the insurgents have done the country proud. "Although the enemy was not fighting a conventional war, we adapted fast and confronted the adversary. Some people doubted us but our achievements speak louder," Kasaon told the returning soldiers.

The Army commander send messages of condolences to the 22 soldiers who have lost their lives in the war against the al Shabaab. He said October 14 has officially been declared Kenya Defence Forces day in honor of those who fought in defence of the country. " Serving in the military is a calling. It is a matter of life and death. You look for the enemy and they look for you. But that is the sacrifice you have to pay in defence of the country," Kasaon said.

The 400 were treated to a feast. They will have a one week rest before gong back to their respective camps for debriefing. KDF Operation Information Officer Colonel Cyrus Oguna said Amisom is determined to eliminate the al Shabaab threat to the country.

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