The relatives of Kenyan soldiers worrying about their family members’ lives gathered on Tuesday in Nairobi as the soldiers’ bodies arrived in Nairobi after the Friday attack on an African Union base in southwest Somalia.
“The government needs to break the silence, they should just tell us if my brother is no longer with us instead of keeping silent,” said Seline Oguta, whose brother Wycliffe was sent to Somalia by the Kenyan army last month.
She said, “My brother is 25 years old and he was sent into the battlefield after just one year of joining the army. I fear that he might be dead.’’
“The Kenyan government should tell us what is happening,” Nicholas Owino, Michael’s father, told Anadolu Agency.
The Kenyan army has not released an official death toll or the name of the casualties since Friday's attack that the Al Shabaab militant group claimed responsibility for, in which 100 Kenyan soldiers lost their lives.
Defence Secretary Raychelle Omamo and military officials reached the first four bodies, sent by plane from Somalia, in Nairobi’s Wilson Airport on Monday. Also about 30 survivors arrived in Kenya alongside the bodies of the soldiers.
However, Kenyan human rights group Muslims for Human Rights called for the Kenyan government to withdraw its troops from Somalia.
“The Kenyan government should withdraw its troops from Somalia and spur a public discussion in Kenya that can lead to action towards accountability for the mistakes that have been made,” it said.
Al Shabaab has vowed to carry out attacks against Kenya for sending its troops to Somalia to fight against the militant group there. Kenya has been struggling with a wave of bomb attacks by Al Shabaab in its territory since October 2011.
Additionally, an attack which was launched by Al Shabaab on the Kenyan Garissa University killed 148 people in April 2015.