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UN mission chief vows to destroy terrorists in Somalia

28 January 2016, 09:55

Nairobi - The African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has vowed to crackdown on terrorist groups operating in the Horn of Africa region.

AMISOM Acting Force Commander Major-General Nakibus Lakara, who visited El-Adde base in southern Somalia which was attacked by Al-Shabaab fighters last week, said he will ensure that terrorists operating in Somalia are eliminated.

"We are here to ensure that Al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups are eliminated from this great nation of Somalia," Lakara said in a statement released in Mogadishu on Wednesday.

"We shall re-strategize. Our defenses must now become offensive by nature. It is payback time, we shall win this war, and the Somali people shall be free," he added.

Lakara reiterated that the Mission will remain committed to its primary mandate of ensuring terrorist groups in Somalia, especially Al-Shabaab, are pushed out of Somalia.

He was speaking during a visit to El-Adde and other AMISOM bases in Sector 2 and 3. El-Adde was attacked by Al-Shabaab terrorists on Jan. 15, killing many Kenyan soldiers.

A suicide bomber drove a car loaded with explosives into the gate on Jan. 15.

KDF troops from a nearby camp launched a counter strike with gunners and mobile artillery, but met heavy resistance in a full-blown battle involving mortars, resulting into deaths and injuries.

"The El-Adde attack against friendly forces should be a launch pad that will embolden, strengthen and motivate us to go all out and hunt down Al-Shabaab and other armed enemies of Somalia," Lakara said.

Kenya has not officially given the death toll or the number of its soldiers injured in the deadly attack that has been roundly condemned by the international community.

Read Also: Defiant KDF soldiers vow to crush Al Shabaab

The visit by the AMISOM commander was aimed at assessing the general situation in the bases and operations being executed by AMISOM troops in the region.

Kenya is currently engaged in the fight against the militia group in southern Somalia where it has been registering impressive gains and extending humanitarian assistance to the local population.

Lakara said the visit to El-Adde was meant to make an appraisal of on-going search and rescue as well as recovery operations by AMISOM troops who re-took the base after the attack.

"The duty call was also to commiserate with, show solidarity and encourage the troops to continue the good work, while reaffirming AMISOM's resolve to defeat terrorists," the statement said.

Lakara reminded the soldiers that AMISOM was not a peacekeeping mission but a peace enforcing mission, adding that casualties do arise given the nature of the task at hand.

"AMISOM has been in Somalia for the last eight years. In these eight years, huge strides have been made in the restoration of peace in most parts of the country, giving way to the government consolidating and expanding its control over the territory," Lakara said.

"But for lasting peace to be achieved, the Somali people must reject and extract Al-Shabaab terrorists from their midst. Only by doing this, will they rid themselves of terror. This cannot be left to AMISOM only," he noted.

The AMISOM commander called on his troops to use the El-Adde attack to re-strategize the battle against terror.

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- Xinhua


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