KDF denies having prior intelligence on El Adde attack

KDF denies having prior intelligence on El Adde attack

Chief of Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe has refuted media reports that they had prior intelligence on the Al Shabaab attack at El Adde in Somalia.

In his first official press briefing since the attack last week, Mwathethe said Al Shabaab may have received funding and logistical support from other international terrorist organisations to carry out the Friday, January 15 attack saying the weapons used were sophisticated.

“Each Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) was equivalent to the one used in the American Embassy attack in Nairobi in 1998 and the Jazeera Palace Hotel attack at Mogadishu in Somalia in July last year,” he said.

Mwathethe stated that, despite the intensity of the attack, KDF soldiers stood ground and tried to repel the Al Shabaab, who attacked in three waves.

He said attempts to provide reinforcement to the soldiers using aircrafts was rendered impossible since the militia had two anti-aircraft guns situated near a primary school.

“We received the first report of the attack at 0630hrs Friday January 15. Attempts to contact the Sector Two commander were futile since the enemy had probably destroyed communication,” he said.

“Amisom did not have the necessary capability and capacity to assist our troops in El Adde so we were compelled to act and mobilise our own resources to assist in the situation.”

He noted that they had to divert an aircraft that was headed to Kismayu to survey the situation.

“The safest option was to send in ground troops, we mobilised troops from Mandera, Elwak and Wajir who embarked on a 10-hour movement to reach the concentration area in Damasa.”

“At around midday, our surveillance aircraft picked the enemy loading the loot on trucks and we had to wait until they cleared the camp before attacking.”

The trucks together with other Al Shabaab convoys were engaged and destroyed with other officers carrying out a search and rescue operation at the camp.

He said as they approached the Al Shabaab they faced heavy resistance and the challenge of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) placed on the road.

“On the third day, our efforts concentrated on search, rescue and airlifting the injured soldiers to Nairobi,” said Mwathethe.

“We also attacked two Al Shabaab camps, one in the morning and another in the afternoon where it was believed that Maalim Janow who led the attack in El Adde was killed.”

He said that survivors and fallen heroes have since been airlifted to Nairobi.

The CDF however could not reveal the number of those killed in the attack saying there are some soldiers who are still missing.

Mwathethe further noted that families of some of the fallen soldiers are helping to identify their bodies using DNA.