“We sleep sound in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm” – Winston Churchill.
Kenya as a Country is mourning one of the deadliest attacks to have ever been carried out on a KDF base in Somalia. Reports indicating that explosives three times as the bomb used in the 1998 US Embassy attack were used in the El- Adde camp by alshabaab militants.
The six month strategy employed by AU’s AMISOM in 2007 to completely outmaneuver alshabaab has lasted close to a decade today. With troop contributing countries including; Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.-With Sierra Leone having withdrawn during the Ebola outbreak.
This is the time for Kenya and AMISOM at large to re-strategize their tactic on the East and Horn of Africa. Bearing in mind that some of the longest coastlines in Africa are in this region- Somalia’s being the longest. Not to forget the strategic location of the Indian ocean.
From where I sit, as a patriotic Kenyan citizen, whether or not to withdraw KDF from Somalia should not be the topic of discussion. Our boots are already on the ground.
Terrorism world over has certain metamorphic traits, every time assuming new shapes out of both overt and covert reasons.
Although today Alshabaab would pledge their allegiance to the Sunni Islamist Al-qaeda, reports indicate that there have been attempts to redirect this allegiance to the Islamic State, albeit without much success. Meaning, however slow, Alshabaab and the broader terror network is changing tactic. Boko Haram in the West of Africa already pledges their allegiance to the Islamic State. And this same Islamic State is now very hungry and wants a taste of East Africa. The easiest route being through Alshabaab.
What this definitely means is that, given a chance to re-energize, alshabaab remains the greatest threat in the region and in particular Kenya- whether or not KDF is in Somalia. It is this opportunity to re-energize that has to be defeated at all cost.
AMISON should return back to the drawing board. At the moment it is hard to understand whether the troops are fighting as a unit or as factions. I say this looking keenly at the El-Adde situation. The Kenya base is attacked, but reinforcement had to be sought out from within Kenya yet the Ethiopian bases in Somalia were closest at that particular moment.
At the same time, the intelligence in place, the nature of equipment used, and other resources needed should be crosschecked to find out whether they are still fit to be on the battlefield.
The strategy of seizing economic resources earlier belonging to alshabaab should be keenly looked into. How does alshabaab continue financing its activities yet key resources are being seized? These resources should be cut off completely and the outside sources sealed.
With great intelligence, resources and tactic, AMISOM can achieve greater success with less fighting through blocking supplies to alshabaab. Whether the supplies are entering through the Indian ocean or through Eritrea as is being claimed. The supreme Art of War is to subdue the enemy without fighting- Sun Tzu.
The Indian ocean needs to be protected and the region can only achieve 100% of this through a stable and terror free Somalia.
It is no secret that cartel like powers within and without the region would still wish to use the Indian ocean as a route for illegal trade. It is no secret that terror activities facilitates these kind of illegal trades. And it is still no secret that Somalia remains a weak link in this arithmetic.
Even though Somalia just recently graduated from a failed state to a very weak state, She has to be protected by her neighbors in the East and Horn of Africa.
Moving forward, the region has to make good use and empower forces such as the East Africa Standby Force for the sake of the regions stability.
At the moment, KDF has to remain in Somalia, under AMISOM. And AMISOM has a duty and responsibility to ensure that alshabaab is wiped out at the earliest. The regional leaders also have a duty to ensure that Somalia’s government is up and running and is able to protect herself.
This war belongs to the entire region and Kenya only happens to be at the center of it.
P.S- I chose not to compare on why the US troops left Somalia, Or on why the US troops left Afghanistan, because of one simple reason:- The US has never shared a border, let alone a region with either of the two.