Kenyan Journalists Visit KDF Troops Serving Under AMISOM Sector II

AMISOM Sector II Commander Brigadier Joakim Mwamburi, KDF Officers and Kenyan Journalists during a group photo at Sector II Headquarters in Dhobley.

AMISOM Sector II Commander Brigadier Joakim Mwamburi, KDF Officers and Kenyan Journalists during a group photo at Sector II Headquarters in Dhobley.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has embarked on a stock taking move to bring to light its eleven year operation in Somalia. The event will take one month and during the process journalists from Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) will visit army bases where their troops are based.

Journalists from Kenya, Burundi Djibouti, Ethiopia and Uganda will be in Somalia for a four-day field engagement tour. There are five Troops Contributing Countries to the onslaught against Al Shabaab Extremists in Somalia. The aim of the visit is for AMISOM to account for the presence of foreign troops in Somalia and also to enable journalists from TCCs to engage and interact with their troops on peacekeeping activities as the transfer of responsibility from AMISOM to Somali national security forces begins to take shape.

AMISOM is an active regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the approval of the United Nations in Somalia. It is mandated to support transitional government structures, implement a national security plan, train Somali security forces and assist in creating a secure environment for delivery of humanitarian aid. AMISOM also supports the Federal Government of Somalia in the war against Al Shabaab militants. AMISOM has its headquarters in Mogadishu.

On October 16th 2011, the Kenya Defence Forces moved into Southern Somalia to pursue insurgents group Al Shabaab after a series of kidnapping of tourists along Kenya-Somalia border. The KDF troops were later formally integrated into AMISOM on February 22, 2012 after United Nations Security passed Resolution 2036.

A team of 13 journalists from Kenya arrived in Mogadishu Somalia on May 8, 2018. They were received by Kenya Ambassador to Somalia, Ambassador Major General (Rtd) Lucas Tumbo. Addressing the journalists at his office in Mogadishu, Amb. Tumbo welcomed them to Mogadishu assuring them that Mogadishu is safe because of AMISOM troops. He said the journalists will get first-hand experience on what KDF troops serving under AMISOM are doing in Somalia. He urged the journalists to ensure they share the story with Kenyans who have supported KDF’s mission in Somalia for close to eleven years now. Amb.Tumbo thanked the Kenya Government for allowing her troops to serve under AMISOM to ensure Somalia attains peace. He also thanked the KDF troops serving under AMISOM for their sacrifice, for leaving their families and coming to Somalia to enforce peace. AMISOM Force spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Richard Omwega who was also present during the meeting cautioned the journalists to mind their personal safety since the situation is yet to return to normal. He urged the journalists to encourage the KDF troops by sharing their stories with Kenyans who have allowed their sons and daughters to serve their country some of whom have paid the ultimate price.

Mogadishu Mayor Abdirahman Omar Osman praised the role AMISOM had played in liberating Somalia and regretted the attacks on AMISOM soldiers. He said he was impressed by the job done by AMISOM in ensuring a peaceful Somalia. AMISOM has managed to restore security in Somalia and now many Somalis are returning to Somalia to re-build their lives.He said as AMISOM prepared to gradually hand over security to the Somali national security forces, Somalia will still be counting on them and the international communities for support. “Somalia should now take full responsibility of her own security”,   Hon. Abdirahman said. He condemned the Mogadishu bombing of 14 October 2017 in which 587 people were killed and 316 injured. He said Al Shabaab are cowards and their aim is to tarnish the name of Islam noting that Islam is a peaceful religion. Over 2000 police officers will be mobilized during Ramadhan because Al Shabaab may take advantage of the holy month to attack innocent civilians.

AMISOM acting Force Commander Maj Gen. Charles Gituai addressing Kenyan journalists from AMISOM Force Headquarters in Mogadishu said AMISOM transition process is condition based.  AMISOM is now focusing on training and equipping Somalia National Army so that SNA can be able to take full responsibilities of specific areas given to them by AMISOM. Maj Gen Gituai is hopeful that Somalia will be able to hold a one person one vote election come 2020. He empathized that AMISOM might exit Somalia by 2020 if condition warrant.All sectors are working together to ensure smooth transition by 2020.“Our mandate is very clear, that we are here to eradicate Al Shabaab, to help the Somali people live in peace and create an environment that enable the community to start their economic activities, that is our focus” said Maj Gen Gituai. He condemned the coward move by Al Shabaab of resorting to attack using Improvised explosive devices (IEDs).He praised the KDF heroes who have paid the ultimate price. Kenyans back home are able to sleep in peace and walk freely because of them and KDF troops will not relent in the war against Al Shabaab.

On 10th May 2018 the journalists visited Dhobley which is the Sector II Headquarters. KDF troops are in-charge of Sector II. They were received by Brigadier Joakim Mwamburi AMISOM Commander Sector II. Addressing them Brig. Mwamburi commented the journalists for their bravely and faith in KDF troops serving under AMISOM. The journalists are visiting Sector II just 4 days after an IED attack on KDF troops. Brig. Mwamburi acknowledged that IEDs and VBIED are still a challenge and it’s unfortunate that AMISOM was losing troops through such attacks. “Dhobley has been peaceful since 2011 and Al Shabaab are using places KDF troops serving under AMISOM have pacified to create cracks”. He said. Brig. Mwamburi said they will increase their patrols. Sector II has played a big role in route clearance of Tabda, Afhamadhow, Bilisqocani and Raskamboni. KDF troops serving under AMISOM have been engaging with the locals through Civil Military operations (CIMIC) focusing mostly on Medical care, renovations and education. AMISOM Level II hospital in Dhobley serves both AMISOM troops and community around. It has a bed capacity of 20, and treats about 40 out patients per day.KDF commanders serving under AMISOM have been engaging with the local leaders through Key Leader engagement. CIMIC activities have played a major role in strengthening the relationship between the locals and KDF troops serving under AMISOM. Brig. Mwamburi said the morale of KDF troops is well taken care of. They are given leaves and rest for two weeks so that they can be able to go home and visit their families. There are churches and Mosques where soldiers get spiritual nourishment. Counseling sessions are available for soldiers who show signs of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). African forces in Somalia, of which the Kenya Defence Forces is part of   should drawdown their troops by 1000 from October 2018. The African peace and Security Council said the two year period would allow proper establishment of necessary facilities for handover of AMISOM to the Somalia Forces. Brig. Mwamburi said KDF will abide to the United Nation Security Council Resolution..

Speaking to journalists at the AMISOM Mission Headquarters in Mogadishu, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia and Head of AMISOM Amb. Francisco Madeira said AMISOM is keen on building the capacity of the Somali Security forces to enable them take over the security of the country, as stipulated in the country’s Architecture agreed by political leaders in April 2017. Amb. Madeira said the peacekeeping force will work closely with the regional state to bring stability by setting up governance structures in areas AMISOM has liberated. “Peace in Somalia is peace in East Africa and peace in the world. African Union’s agenda for peace in Africa will be compromised if there is no peace in Somalia”, the SRCC said. He thanked AMISOM and the Troop contributing Countries (TCCs) for their huge sacrifices in Somalia and condoled fallen AMISOM soldiers.He reiterated that AMISOM is focused on implementing the transition plan and urged troops to readjust their strategies in fighting against Al Shabaab insurgents.

Since its entry into Somalia KDF has recorded several successful operations against Al Shabaab. Among them, the victory at the Sea Port of Kismayu in September 2012. This was the most intriguing battle by KDF troops that led to the victory of the sea port of Kismayu. Another notable battle by KDF troops is the one the forces captured Badhadhe town after a five year reign of the Al Qaeda affiliated group.The Kenyan journalists also visited and interacted with KDF troops serving under AMISOM in Tabda and Afmadhow camps.

While AMISOM has made gains in Somalia the risk still presented by Al Shabaab remains vivid due to inadequate funding and troops number. AMISOM has managed to push Al Shabaab away from major cities, and the Federal Government of Somalia has taken steps towards stability in Somalia with foreign help, the Somali Security forces have grown stronger, and political leaders are aiming to hold nationwide elections in 2020.

Following the United Nation Security Council Resolution, AMISOM has to leave Somalia and hand the country’s security back to the Federal Government of Somalia by 2021.

President of the Jubaland State of Somalia, Sheikh Ahmed Madobe addresses Kenyan Journalists.President of the Jubaland State of Somalia, Sheikh Ahmed Madobe addresses Kenyan Journalists.
Ambassador (Rtd) Major General Lucas Tumbo addresses the Kenyan journalists.Ambassador (Rtd) Major General Lucas Tumbo addresses the Kenyan journalists.
Acting AMISOM Force Commander Major General Charles Tai from Kenya addresses journalists at AMISOM Force Headquarters in Mogadishu.Acting AMISOM Force Commander Major General Charles Tai from Kenya addresses journalists at AMISOM Force Headquarters in Mogadishu.
Kenyan journalists inside an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) in Mogadishu during the AMISOM media embedKenyan journalists inside an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) in Mogadishu during the AMISOM media embed
Sergeant Abey Gure of KDF AMISOM VII- Tabda explains to the journalists what his role as platoon Sergeant entails. Sergeant Abey Gure of KDF AMISOM VII- Tabda explains to the journalists what his role as platoon Sergeant entails.
Captain (Dr) Robert Simba-KDF attends to patients at Afmadhow General Hospital during a CIMIC exercise organized by KDF troops based in Afmadhow.Captain (Dr) Robert Simba-KDF attends to patients at Afmadhow General Hospital during a CIMIC exercise organized by KDF troops based in Afmadhow.
Sapper Gregory Wamugunda of KDF AMISOM VII explains to the Journalists how an Improvised Explosive Device operates.Sapper Gregory Wamugunda of KDF AMISOM VII explains to the Journalists how an Improvised Explosive Device operates.
Somalia addresses Kenyan Journalists at the AMISOM Mission Headquarters in Mogadishu. Sergeant Kamau Muiruri and Private Eric Mutua of KDF AMISOM VII at their Observation Point. Sergeant Kamau Muiruri and Private Eric Mutua of KDF AMISOM VII at their Observation Point.
Afmadhow District Commissioner Mr. Mohamed Dagane Abdi receives desks donated by AMISOM Sector II Commander Brigadier Joakim Mwamburi at Wamo Primary School.Afmadhow District Commissioner Mr. Mohamed Dagane Abdi receives desks donated by AMISOM Sector II Commander Brigadier Joakim Mwamburi at Wamo Primary School.
AMISOM Sector II Commander Brigadier Joakim Mwamburi presents sports jersey donated by KDF to Dhobley Football Club coach Abdinoor Bashir.AMISOM Sector II Commander Brigadier Joakim Mwamburi presents sports jersey donated by KDF to Dhobley Football Club coach Abdinoor Bashir.
AMISOM Sector II Commander Joakim Mwamburi and Afmadhow District Commissioner addresses Dhobley Football team.AMISOM Sector II Commander Joakim Mwamburi and Afmadhow District Commissioner addresses Dhobley Football team.
AMISOM Sector II Commander Planting a tree at Amani Gardens in Dhobley.AMISOM Sector II Commander Planting a tree at Amani Gardens in Dhobley.
Leila Mohamed of Nation Television plants a tree at Amani Gardens in Dhobley.Leila Mohamed of Nation Television plants a tree at Amani Gardens in Dhobley.