Deputy President William Ruto has rejected calls for the government to withdraw the Kenya Defence Forces from Somalia following terror attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa over the weekend.
Speaking during a press briefing on the security situation in the country, the DP said Kenya will not be be "cowed" stating that KDF will not be withdrawn until Somalia has "a strong government free from terror."
Ruto termed a withdrawal of Kenyan troops from the region as an "act of cowardice" which would amount to "running away from terrorists who kill us and feed on blood."
He added that withdrawing the troops would create a safe haven for the al Shabaab to recruit terrorists to attack Kenya. Ruto said that KDF has managed to dismantle al Shabaab terror networks and weaken its bases in Somalia.
He said that the al Shabaab terror group knows that it has been defeated saying that the recent attacks are the "kicks of a dying horse". Ruto said the al Shabaab is aiming for "soft targets" because of major disruptions of its schemes both in Somalia and Kenya.
The DP further said that the fight against terror is collective stating that all arms of government must play its part while citizens have a "patriotic obligation" to be vigilant and report any suspicious object or individual to the authorities.
He singled out the Judiciary in his address saying that several terror suspects who have been granted bail by the courts have absconded and escaped to Somalia to mount terror attack on the country.
Ruto named Fouad Manswab, co-accused of Jermaine Grant who is currently on trial for planning a series of terror attacks at the Coast. He said Manswab fled to Somalia where he has been plotting terror attacks. He also mentioned terror suspects Suleiman Mohamed Said and Jamal Mohamed Awadh who are reported to have died in the bomb attack on a bus in Mombasa on Saturday.
The DP however said that the government is "on top of things", he revealed that the National Intelligence has foiled several terror plots and cells within the country. He admitted that there have been a few incidences that have "slipped through" the government's networks but said that those will be brought under control.
The DP also vowed to match the government's tough words on terror with action. He said the government is aware of a network of sympathisers and collaborators in the country stating that they are being investigated and will be brought to book regardless of their social standing.
Ruto further said that the national government is working with county governments, the Ministry of Transports and the Sacco's running public service vehicles to ensure that passengers are checked before boarding buses following the attacks on passenger vehicles in Mombasa and Nairobi. He also said that stages will be gazetted so that passengers only board matatus from designated stages which will be equipped with security facilities to ensure safety of passengers.
He further confirmed that 82 Kenyans were injured in the attacks on two buses in Nairobi while three people were killed in the explosions. He said several of those injured in the blast have since been discharged while 29 are still admitted to various hospitals in Nairobi. Ruto assured the patients and their families that the hospital bills will be paid for by the Kenya Red Cross from funds left over for victims of last year's Westgate attack.