Kenya marks the first anniversary of an attack on a military camp in Somalia on Sunday. Nearly 150 soldiers from the Eldoret-based 9th Kenya Riffles Battalion died in the dawn ambush by Al Shabaab fighters who also reportedly took hostages in El Adde.
Different accounts place the number of captives at a dozen including 40-year old Leonard Maingi Kiiyo who was paraded by the militants in a propaganda video released last September. In the video, Maingi pleads with President Uhuru Kenyatta to intercede by opening negotiations with the terror group, and possibly pay ransom to grant their release. “Mr President, this may be the last chance to plead with you as my commander that I swore to serve and one that I love. Please, I’m begging you Mr President,” Mr Maingi pleads in the video.
He and 200 other soldiers of his company had arrived in Somalia on New Year’s Day in 2016, partly explaining the heavy losses suffered as the soldiers were fairly new to the environment. A week after the attack, the Kenya Defence Forces dispatched an enquiry team to investigate the circumstances under which the attack happened and how the massive fatalities were suffered.