VIDEO – Uhuru, Raila unite in paying tribute to fallen Kenyan soldiers, leaders promise to destroy al Shabaab

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Cord leader Raila Odinga on Friday united in honouring KDF soldiers.

The two leaders, flanked by Deputy President William Ruto and Cord principals Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula, visited wounded soldiers at the Forces Memorial Hospital in Nairobi.

They later attended a memorial service at the same venue.

Uhuru paid tribute to Kenyan soldiers who were injured during El Adde attack and urged Somalia’s government to take advantage of liberated regions to form a credible government.

“KDF and African Union Mission in Somalia troops have liberated many parts of Somalia from the grip of the militants. Our mission has allowed the Somali people to build a stable country,” he said.

“The Somalia government should demonstrate that they are ready to build a strong government that controls all territories.”

He commended the “fellowship and common loyalty” the Kenya Defence Forces have shown and reiterated that al Shabaab “will be destroyed”.

“Kenya is at war, terrorism is threatening democracy and humanity’s hope for peace. It is a matter of pride for families to have one of their own joining the armed forces, we stand with you,” Uhuru said.

The President said injured soldiers will be treated and return to duty.

“We will make sure those who were injured will receive the best healthcare possible. The entire country stands with them,” he said.

Raila called for unity saying there was “no government, no opposition at this point in time”.

“As a country, we refuse to cry. We are here to celebrate the courage of our soldiers. Kenyans should search for justice, we have lost so much. God hates injustice, God hates taking away of innocent lives,” he said.

The Cord leader pointed out that leaders have a nation to protect and appealed to affected families not to be bitter despite the happenings.

“Some things are best left to God. Yes, we are hurt but let us not turn it to hate. You have a right to be angry, but we should all believe in these three words: we shall overcome. We know that God is on our side.”

Deputy President William Ruto said Kenya will stand firmly behind the President’s leadership in his efforts to keep Kenya secured.

“Uhuru, there is a God in heaven; there is a reason that he made you Commander in Chief at such a time as this. I want to assure you that we stand firm with our soldiers in ensuring that Kenya is safe,” he said.

“Like we overcame Westgate and the mall was opened, Garrisa and the institutions was opened, so we shall overcome this as well.”

The event was attended by representatives of countries with troops in the African Union Mission in Somalia as well as the AU and the United Nations.

European Union, UN and African Union representatives said their resolve to work with Kenya has not been dimmed and thanked KDF for their sacrifice.

Dozens of KDF soldiers were killed and many injured in an ambush by al Shabaab on a remote base in El Adde last Friday.

The group, which is aligned to al Qaeda, said it killed 100 Kenyan soldiers. The Kenya Defence Forces is yet to confirm the number of casualties the country suffered.

Al Shabaab said it took over the base, about 550 km (340 miles) west of Mogadishu after a suicide bomber from the group rammed its gates. It said it was also in control of the small town of Ceel Cado nearby.