Wishing all the Muslims brothers and sisters Ramadan Kareem and Saum maqbuul.
By now we have all seen the graphic images of the scene in Lamu all over social media: young men in army camouflage struck down by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF). While law abiding Kenyans spent their weekend socialising or preparing for a new week of work, those tasked to protect us from outside threats of terrorism were hard at work doing their jobs. The militant group well known to most of us as Al-Shabaab launched a misguided attack at a military camp in Baure, Lamu, in the wee hours of Sunday morning. In the ensuing gunfight, eleven of the more than 100 Al-Shabaab attackers met their demise, with two soldiers tragically losing their lives in the process. This attack is among recent attacks since Garissa attack.
The attack, launched precisely one year after the Mpeketoni attack that saw 70 innocent Kenyans killed, came mere hours after suspected Al- Shabaab militants raided Mangai Village in Lamu county, ordering residents out of their homes and destroying property of unknown value, including a newly constructed primary school that they set on fire. It is appears the perpetrators of this raid have yet to be apprehended. Thankfully, no injuries were reported, though residents remain fearful that there might be a subsequent attack which may involve greater violence.
Of the Al-Shabaab attackers felled by KDF bullets in the army base attack, some stood out more than others; specifically, the Caucasian members of the group. One of them has so far been tentatively identified as a 25 year old Briton, who left his family in 2012 to travel to Somalia and enlist in the terrorist group. Speaking to The Telegraph, his mother notes her dismay at the choices that led her son to his fate, but was in a sense grateful, noting her relief that he could now no longer hurt people.
Cases like are examples of the recent wave of radicalisation and indoctrination into extremist beliefs that has seen many of our youth locally and abroad fall prey to terror groups. Noting that we all have our part to play in keeping our children safe from such opportunistic organisations, Chairman of the Nyumba Kumi Initiative, Joseph Kaguthi, singled out secondary schools as prime areas of concern. Speaking to headteachers in Mombasa, Kaguthi advised that teachers and other figures of authority within schools be on the look out for signs that a student is being drafted into radical organisations, emphasising that it is not only Muslim youth or those from poor financial backgrounds that can be radicalised.
Envoys from the United States and the United Kingdom have come forward to praise KDF for their tireless and dangerous work in pushing back the militant groups, highlighting the foiled attack on the base as a prime example. Kenyans have also expressed their gratitude in droves, and we here at Sidoman are no different. We offer our sincerest condolences to the families of the soldiers who laid down their lives in the Lamu attack, and applaud their victory against the terrorist forces.
We, and other Kenyans, must therefore continue to honor their efforts by being doing our part to uphold security and peace in our country. Wishing you all a safe week ahead.