Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has revealed the death toll of KDF soldiers killed in Kenya’s military camp in Somalia.
According to the statement he issued during an interview, at least 180 Kenyan troops were killed when Al Shabaab attacked their El Adde base on January 15.
The president released the statement when he was defending his attendance at a memorial for the soldiers in Kenya following criticisms by social media users for being too concerned about the death of Kenyans more than his own citizens.
President Mohamud had joined president Buhari of Nigeria and president Uhuru Kenyatta in paying tribute to the fallen soldiers.
Mr Mohamud stated his imperative for joining Kenya in paying tribute to the troops killed in El Adde, located in Somalia’s south-western region of Gedo.
Speaking to Somali Cable TV, the president said,
When 180 or close to 200 soldiers who were sent to us are killed in one day in Somalia, it’s not easy. The soldiers have been sent to Somalia to help us get peace in our country, and their families are convinced that they died while on duty,
Kenyan government has not released figures of casualty till now, even though the Somali president has mentioned it in an interview with a Somali television station.
This is in conflict with the number the terror group had published earlier. The Islamist militants said 100 Kenyan troops died. Kenya has not given a death toll for the attack, stating that they are still trying to identify the victims.
The Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo after the attack said,
The soldiers affected by the attack are a company size force.
However, the Kenyan military has dismissed these comments made by the Somali president, who said that between 180 and 200 Kenyan soldiers were massacred in an AL-Shabab attack in January.
Kenyan military spokesman Col David Obonyo said;
We have nothing to clarify, the information is not true and it did not come from us. Ask the source of the information to clarify it, maybe he knows his sources. Secondly, we should stop trivialising the dead, they are not mere statistics, they ought to be treated with honour and respect. From the start we have informed the [victims’] next of kin.
Kenyan military have said that the bombs used in the attack were three times more powerful than those used by Al-Qaeda in the 1998 US embassy attack in the capital, Nairobi, that killed about 224 people.
Kenya has about 4,000 troops in the 22,000-strong African Union force battling Al Shabaab, which is part of al-Qaeda, in Somalia. It was suspected that Somalis might have aided the attacker.