26 January 2016

Kenya: Nigeria's President Buhari to Join Uhuru in Requiem Service for KDF Soldiers in Eldoret

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will join his Kenyan host President Uhuru Kenyatta in Eldoret on Wednesday to receive bodies and attend a requiem service in honour of Kenyan soldiers killed in Somalia.

The inter-denominational prayers will be held at the Moi Barracks, just outside Eldoret town, where most of the Kenya Defence Forces soldiers who perished in the El-Adde Al-Shabaab attack on Friday, January 15, were based at the 9th Kenya Rifles Battalion.

President Kenyatta will arrive at the Eldoret International Airport at 12:30pm and will receive President Buhari an hour later after which the two presidents will be airlifted to Moi Barracks, about 40 kilometres away from the airport.

The Nigerian leader, a former military chief, will be on a three-day State visit with unconfirmed reports that Ethiopia and Somalia Heads of State Hailemariam Desalegn and Hassan Sheikh Mohammud, respectively, will also attend the Eldoret memorial.

Preparations were on Tuesday in top gear in Eldoret with military vehicles seen around the town, including armoured cars.

BEEHIVE OF ACTIVITY

It remained unclear whether the bodies of the soldiers will be airlifted to the Eldoret International Airport or transported directly to Moi Barracks.

The soldiers were part of an African Mission in Somalia (Amisom) team deployed in the war-ravaged country.

Defence headquarters spokesman Mr Bogita Ongeri confirmed the inter-denominational prayers for the victims and their families.

"Different churches have been invited for the prayers at the Moi Barracks," Mr Ongeri told the Nation.

The Eldoret International Airport, where many dignitaries are expected to land, was also a beehive of activity on Tuesday as soldiers and State House protocol teams made final preparations.

Uasin Gishu County church ministers on Wednesday said they have organised the prayers in solidarity for the soldiers for their selfless service to the county and who have paid the ultimate sacrifice with their duty.

"The attack of Kenya soldiers constitutes the worst such act against our troops in our history as a nation. This is the assurance that the blood of our fallen heroes was not shed in vain," said the clergy in a statement.

The chairman of Uasin Gishu County Gospel Ministers Bishop Wilson Kurui called on the government and people of Somalia to use the opportunity to build a peaceful and a prosperous country.

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