The fall of Al-Shabaab manifested in the last weeks of May 2012 bringing to focus the role of key defense forces involved in the peace process in Somalia. Intelligence audit on the role of Kenya Defense Forces, KDF, authenticates a very logical matrix that lays bare how events shaped by KDF have shaped an end game to Al-Shabaab influence and military power in Somalia.
The entry of KDF in Somalia in October 2011 shocked the world; it was a case of a coward being up in arms after tolerating decades of suppression due to his tolerant self. This perception was wrong; Kenya is not cowardly rather the geopolitics of the country and its strategic importance underscores the need for multi-pronged efforts to stymie regional conflicts and internal security threats.
Since the Ugandan intervention, UPDF and AMISOM never made headway in Mogadishu for half a decade. Al-Shabaab deployed hundreds of intelligence officers to gather intelligence on AMISOM and TFG. Al-Shabaab efforts resulted to deaths of hundreds of AMISOM soldiers. Previous efforts by Ethiopia led to near massacre of Ethiopian defense forces in South Somalia leading to a hasty retreat and exit. AMISOM had achieved almost nought by October 2011 rather Al-Shabaab was getting stronger and more organized.
Between October 2011 and February 2012, KDF captured 14 strategic towns that were under the command and military wing of Al-Shabaab. (Busar, Inda El, Damase, El Afe, Faafahdhun, Dhobley, Qoqani, Tabta, Hayo, Dabilo, Raskamboni, Burgavo, Kulbio, and,Badhaadhe). It is only in January 2012 that AMISOM managed to make progress outside Mogadishu and last week took Daynille and Afgoye corridor. Only three major areas compared to strategic areas that served as bases and command locations for Al-Shabaab.
AMISOM and Ethiopian forces continue to ask Kenya to deploy its military superiority to defile Al-Shabaab and speed up the military operations. The Kenya airforce can hit Afgoye and its outskirts. Kenya airforce jets pounded Jillib but have since then stopped.
The KDF entry into the Somali war theater was the only solution to the Somalia problem. Events that have played out (The inroads made in Mogadishu, the fall of Afgoye, and the fall of Baidoa) and the results of these events, when pieced together fill up a puzzle that indicates progress and strategic value of KDF in the Somali war theater.
It defines the Kenya army as very good in strategy and well equipped to counter militant outfits such as Al-Shabaab.
The strategy deployed by KDF managed to destroy enemy resource mobilization, enemy troop movement, assembly and distribution of enemy weaponry including guns, bullets, and bombs, defiling the capacity of the enemy even in others areas it controlled.
This trickle down effect is felt across Somalia where other foreign armies are operating including UPDF, the major player and pioneer of the military intervention in Somalia.
The 14 towns mentioned were both bases and command centers besides serving as training grounds, logistics, and bomb assembly facilities. KDF destroyed both equipment and resources, besides Al-Shabaab human capacity.
In comparison to the near decade UPDF-AU mission, the achievements on KDF were rapid and permanent while the UPDF-AU gains have consistently lacked cluster and benefit. The fall of Afgoye, Daynille, and Mogadishu comes many years after the UPDF-AU intervention and within the time, KDF launched its strategy for Somalia.
KDF stifled flow of resources, training of fighters, and movement of key Al-Shabaab military forces besides destruction of most of the Al-Shabaab war-machine. These losses, both in resources and manpower weakened Al-Shabaab besides sent most of their fighters running north.
The achievements made by AMISOM-UN coincide with when KDF intervened; meaning KDF played the central role in both shaping the future of Somalia, and routing Al-Shabaab. Secondly, KDF paved way for other key players like UPDF-AMISOM in making headway against Al-Shabaab.