The Kenya Defence Forces on Thursday explained why it could not release figures of casualties suffered in the El Adde attack by Al Shabaab militia group.
Speaking at a press conference, Chief of Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe said that a board of inquiry had been sent to El Adde camp, to probe and prepare a comprehensive report on what exactly transpired during the devastating attack.
Mwathethe clarified that some bodies had to be identified first, adding that the process could take long.
“Appreciate the briefing already given on the magnitude of the attack. DNA test will have to be done on some of our fallen heroes. This may take long and I call upon all of you to exercise patience and to support our families in this regard,” he said.
The General announced that the military had recaptured the ill-fated camp and was under full command and control by the KDF.
In the press conference, KDF gave an account of the attack and how it responded to the crisis.
General Mwathethe recounted that the military learnt about the attack at 6.30am Friday. KDF then sent survey helicopters to the area to assess the situation and collect information.
Meanwhile, Commanders diverted a Kismayu-bound plane to El Adde which called in and reported that the camp was on fire and fighting was ongoing. The aircraft also confirmed that the attacker had mounted two anti-aircraft guns near the camp.
Arial survey showed militiamen going on a looting spree, picking military weapons and other equipment and packing them on two trucks.
Mwathethe said that sending reinforcement troops to the battle area by air was unsafe, due to the anti-aircraft guns. Commanders therefore resorted to use ground troops who fought enemies along their way for 10 hours before reaching the camp.
One truck fleeing the area was engaged by a military air strike but the other managed to drive off.
The General confirmed that KDF carried out multiple airstrikes on two Al Shabaab camps killing Maalim Janow, whom they believed was among organisers of the assault on Kenyan troops.
On the rescue and recovery mission, Mwathethe remarked that they had been able to save soldiers near the border and at El-Adde, adding that they intended to end the operation on Thursday, January 21.
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