Three Presidents Wednesday paid tribute to the courage of the Kenyan soldiers who paid the ultimate price during the El Adde camp raid in Somalia two weeks ago.
Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta, Hassan Sheikh Muhamud (Somalia) and Muhammadu Buhari (Nigeria) said the only way to honour the fallen heroes is to accomplish the Somalia peace mission .
The three leaders said retreating is not an option as it will give the terrorists a sense of false victory.
“The right thing to do, for the security of our country, the safety of the region, and for the memory of those who fell, is to complete the mission”, said President Kenyatta.
The President reiterated that this is not the time to waver or to listen to the voices of defeat and despair.
Paying tribute to the fallen troops, the President said the brave heroes died defending the tenets of peace, democracy and security which all Kenyans cherish.
“We owe these young patriots who gave everything a debt of honour. We can begin to discharge it by resolving never to forget their sacrifices”, said President Kenyatta.
The three leaders were speaking during a special inter-denominational memorial service in honour of Kenya Defence Forces soldiers killed in El Adde, Somalia during an ambush by Al-Shabaab militia.
President Kenyatta said it is time for the people and government of Somalia to choose peace and progress over violence, hatred and stagnation.
“The enemy has declared his love of violence and hatred. We know that evil cannot be driven out or defeated by evil – that violence and hatred cannot be defeated by more violence, or more hate”, he said
The President said the fight that KDF is involved in is to protect the country from the enemy whose major goal is to kill and destroy.
He said every single terrorist involved in the dastardly attack will be hunted down and brought to justice.
“Our soldiers’ blood will not be shed in vain”, President Kenyatta added.
He reminded Kenyans that terrorism is a global war which requires global response.
Nigeria, like Kenya and Somalia has suffered the brunt of terrorism and both Buhari and Sheikh Muhamud joined the memorial service to give moral support, comfort and courage to the country at this trying moment.
President Kenyatta regretted that some leaders are calling for the retreat and withdrawal of KDF from Somalia saying this is an unwise move as it will give the Al-Shabaab a free field to kill both Somalis and Kenyans.
“They have forgotten that the enemy has made it clear he will follow us home. And they have forgotten that, as good neighbours, we cannot leave the people of Somalia to the tender mercies of murderous terrorists.
President Buhari, who is in Kenya for the first time said his country has in the past suffered terrorism from the Boko Haram who inflicted pain, misery and death to both civilians and soldiers.
He said terrorists should have no place in modern society and must be vanquished with courage and determination.
“We must fight racism and hatred which drive terrorism. We must also deal with radicalization. We must defeat terrorists, their sponsors and sympathizers”, said Buhari.
He said Nigeria stands solidly behind Kenya in taking the battle to the terrorists wherever they are.
President Muhamud said Somalia would forever remain indebted to what Kenyans have offered on behalf of Somali citizens.
Describing the terrorists as barbaric devils, the Somali leader said what the murderers are depicting are the kicks of a dying horse and will soon be wiped out.
Deputy President William Ruto assured the president, as the Commander-in-Chief, that Kenyans, irrespective of their political, religious and ethnic persuasion are solidly behind him in the decisions he makes with regard to the Somali mission.
He described the Al-Shabaab as “criminal madmen” who all Kenyans must be prepared to fight.
“This fight, we must all be ready to engage or die for. The more vicious the attacks by the Al-Shabaab, the more the resolve of our soldiers to continue fighting.
And Quoting from the bible, the Chief of Defence Forces, General Samson mwathethe said the fallen heroes loved their country and their people to the extent of giving their lives.
“There is no greater love than to die for your friends”, said the General.
Other speakers included Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo.
The sombre ceremony was attended by the clergy from various denominations, and members of the affected families.
Nigerian President receives full state honours as he arrives for State visit
Earlier, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was received with pomp and colour by his host President Uhuru Kenyatta on arrival.
The Nigerian leader who landed at the Eldoret International Airport shortly after 2:30 pm received full state honours including a 21 gun salute from KDF officers.
Immediately after the arrival ceremonies, President Kenyatta and his guest held tet-a-tet before they left for Moi Barracks in Eldoret for an interdenominational memorial service in honour of KDF soldiers who were killed in El Adde, Somalia following an Al-Shabaab ambush.
The Somali leader was received by senior government officials led by the Deputy President William Ruto and Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed.
Last week, the President led other political leaders and Government officials at a similar interdenominational service at the Armed Forces Memorial Hospital in Nairobi.