The ongoing fight against Islamic militants Al-Shabaab in Somalia has helped shape Kenya Defense Forces in a number of aspects, Vice Chief of Defense Forces Lieutenant General Robert Kibochi has said.
In an interview published by Africa Defense Forum Magazine recently, Kibochi said the war, which started in 2011, has helped the KDF team to streamline her doctrines among them, identification of weaknesses in the military's fighting equipments.
"We’ve been in Somalia now for close to six years, and this engagement has helped identify gaps in doctrine and equipment. These issues have been really helpful as we continue to modernize the force to respond to asymmetric threats," said Kibochi.
Another aspect that has greatly been shaped is handling of welfares of the families that have lost their loved ones in the war. According to Kibochi, KDF has emphasized on handling concerns of families of troops who have died and those those are away on mission.
"The KDF has also put an emphasis on issues touching on the welfare of Soldiers and their families. This includes support and recognition of our veterans who, really, we consider our heroes.
"We have emphasized the appropriate handling of those who have been left behind, and this has led to a very deliberate establishment of welfare centers across all our camps that are manned by professionals who address the concerns of the troops and their families," he told the ADF.
Since 2011, KDF has recorded a number of victories in Somalia. Liberating Kismayo in 2012, a hot bed of the militants, was one of the best achievements. Other towns have also been liberated.
However, the troops have also suffered fatalities including the 2016 raid at El-Adde camp which saw at least 200 soldiers dead. It was one of the worst loss in recent years.
"It is also important to note the 14th of October, the date Operation Linda Nchi was launched, has been recognized as KDF Day. We have been marking this day annually to honor the Soldiers’ legacy," he said.