Kenya Defense Forces is among elite team that has suffered unimaginable casualties in the ongoing fight against Al-Shabaab, a new report has revealed.
For eight years, KDF troops have been waging onslaught against the militants, liberating several towns within Sector 2 and 6 of AMISOM in Jubaland besides suffering casualties.
The findings by scholar Paul Williams are based, he states, on five sources.
The most comprehensive data comes from African Union (AU) financial compensation records on sums paid to families who lost loved ones in the years since Amisom's deployment in 2007.
Prof Williams, author of the 2015 book 'Fighting for Peace in Somalia,' also cites a new data set listing attacks on Amisom soldiers and a “Memorial Wall of Our Heroes” erected in the AU headquarters building in Ethiopia.
His estimated Amisom death toll, contained in a report released on Tuesday by the New York-based International Peace Institute, does not include calculations of losses suffered specifically by Kenya or the other countries that contribute troops to Amisom.
“A plausible estimate of Amisom's fatalities between March 2007 and December 2018 could be between 1,483 and 1,884,” writes Prof Williams, an international affairs scholar at George Washington University.
According to the scholar, AMISOM does not give official records of troops who have been killed, only erecting an epitaph to celebrate their services in Modadishu.
He challenges AMISOM to consider making the names public despite the danger such a move pauses especially from Al-Shabaab so that they are openly celebrated.
“It is likely that the real number is closer to the higher end of this range than the lower end,” he adds.
“All peacekeepers who make the ultimate sacrifice should have their service publicly recognised,” the author argues. “Not doing so is not only immoral, but it is likely to have a negative effect on morale.”
In 2016 for instance, KDF suffered casualties at El Adde region in Gedo when Al-Shabaab ran into their base, killing over 200 soldiers.
Despite pressure to have an official report on what transpired, General Samson Mwathethe has remained mum over the same, further raising questions about KDF's accountability.
Also, KDF has suffered setbacks at Dhobley and Afmadow. But in many instances, the team has also managed to kill thousands of Al-Shabaab militants.
The report was released at the same day when President Uhuru Kenyatta maintained that KDF will continue staying in Somalia until peace is achieved.
KDF joined AMISOM in 2012, one year after incursion in Somalia. Other contributing countries to the mission are Uganda, Ethiopia, Burundi and Rwanda.