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Kenya should keep her troops in Somalia

30 June 2014, 17:20 Gicharu Mathigu

Nairobi - When a foreign invading army leaves the invaded country, fighting breaks out with groups struggling to fill in the power vacuum left behind. One of the groups and a very strong one at that, in Somali today is the Al-Shaabab. This is what Somali looks forward to when, and if Kenya withdraws her troops on the request of terrorists.

Somali will be embroiled in another civil war, possibly as intense as the previous one, with the possibility of Islamist radicals taking control of good chunk of the country. This possibility doesn’t auger well with Kenya’s sovereignty, which was principal objective of Operation Linda Nchi, the official code name for the Kenyan Army incursion into Somali.

Following terrorist attacks, a significant number of people have voiced their advocacy of withdrawing Kenyan troops from Somali. Many cite that it was a mistake to place our military machine in Somali, and that mistake needs rectifying, the earlier the better. This push to withdraw troops from Somali follows the recent terror attacks in the country, and the demand by terrorists for the Kenyan government to withdraw troops from Somali.

Withdrawing the Kenyan military from Somali is currently ill advised, on two critical fronts.

Firstly, Operation Linda Nchi, was aimed at ensuring sovereign integrity of Kenya, and security of Her borders. These two objectives are to be achieved by eradication the Al-Shaabab within Somali. The operation was deemed necessary after emboldened Al-Shabaab made inroads into Kenya and kidnapped several foreign tourist and aid workers.

According to the Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Operation Linda Nchi is one of the final stages in the fight against Islamist insurgency of the Somali Civil War. Should Kenya troops pull out of Somali without ensuring these two objectives are met, then we’ll be back in a situation where Islamic militants or other defunct group merrily makes incursions into our borders and lay waste to our constitutionally guaranteed rights.

Secondly, pulling out troops from Somali is awarding victory to the Al-Shabaab. They will have effectively, through terror, forced our government to concede.

History has shown that bargaining and negotiating with terrorists tends to result in emboldening of the terrorists.

Western Germany tried negotiating with terrorists only to end up experiencing more acts of terror instead of reducing them. Once it changed its policy to a non-negotiating stance with the terrorists, the war on terror was halfway won.

The country needs to understand and appreciate that our main vulnerability is the value we attach on human life. Terrorists do not value human life like we do. If we didn’t value human life, then they would not be able to hurt us. This is a weakness and fundamental principle that groups out to conduct terror will always use against us, and it is hard for us to use the same principle as an asset while we fight against them.

Unless we can identify these terrorists, they are going to continue hurting us, driving us mad with fear and scaring this beautiful country. The Kenyan Army presence in Somali protects us against this, today and in the future. Through the Army, Kenya will ensure that radical Islamist groups in Somali are rooted out. With their presence eradicated, then Kenya will finally be at rest, knowing that her sovereignty is not threatened.

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Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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