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Operation Linda Nchi ends as African Union takes over

Monday, March 19, 2012 - 00:00 -- BY KNA
Kenya Military in Somalia
The Kenya Military troop inside Somali for the Linda Inchi,one soldier was confirmed dead last Week as KDF offices raided Bilis Qooqaani ,five Al-Shabaab men were killed .Photo Elkana Jacob

The Kenyan army’s mission to dislodge the Al-Shabaab militia group from Somalia comes to an end soon. The Kenya Defence Forces is preparing to hand over the responsibility to African Union Mission on Somalia (AMISOM). Col Cyrus Oguna, the Officer In charge of Information and Operations, on Saturday said the fames ‘Operation Linda Nchi’ is about to be wound up because AMISOM is taking over.

Oguna said the Kenyan soldiers had driven away Al-Shabaab fighters from 20 towns and pacified the liberated areas from the Al Qaeda-linked militia group. “Our initial plan was to degrade the capacity of the Al-Shabaab which is a major threat to peace, economy and stability of Kenya and the entire region and restore normalcy in the war-ravaged country,” he said.

He said AMISOM, which will be in charge of the peace process in Somalia up to October 31, held a political and military leadership meeting in Ethiopia recently to discuss how to organise the its 17,000 troops from different countries. He said the force commander will be a Lieutenant General from Uganda while Kenya will lead the intelligence and public relations in AMISOM’s effort to eliminate the radical Islamists.

 Oguna said the Kenya government will continue to support the efforts to restore peace in Somalia to enable the refugees to return to their country. “The war against Al-shabaab is a war against beastly acts, fight against heinous acts against humanity and war against terrorism in the world,” he said . “Peace and stability in Somalia is vital for Kenya’s economic growth, security, peace and stability and for averting the deplorable refugees’ status in various refugee camps in the country,” pointed Col. Oguna.

Col. Oguna said that Kismayu town remains the target for the operation aimed at eliminating the rebels completely to pave way for stable political government in the war-torn country. Oguna said that the government’s effort to rescue the two civil servants held hostage by the rebels are on going through local civil and religious leaders to ensure their safe release “We are hopeful that the government’s concerted efforts will yield,” added Oguna.

Speaking at the same venue, the Deputy Police spokesperson Charles Owino said that police will beef up the war against terrorism by increasing surveillance to deter terror attacks. He said that the war on terrorism is not a war on any religion and only targeted criminal activities and fundamentalism in religion related  crime. Owino said that last weekend’s grenades attacks in Nairobi in which nine people died and 46 others wounded “an incidence that can happen to any country”.