Two KDF soldiers killed in Somalia laid to rest

Monday February 15 2016

KDF soldiers carry a casket of their comrade Mr

KDF soldiers carry a casket of their comrade Mr Eliakim Omenda, who was killed in an Al-Shabaab attack in El Adde, Somalia. PHOTO | NELCON ODHIAMBO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Two Kenyan soldiers who were killed by Al-Shabaab insurgents during a raid on their camp in Somalia last month were buried in Siaya and Turkana counties.

A sombre mood Sunday engulfed Ururi Village in Bondo Sub-County, Siaya County, during the burial of Mr Eliakim Omenda, 29.

Hundreds of people came to pay their last respects to the fallen soldier, who was part of the Kenyan troops who were ambushed in a dawn attack by Al-Shabaab in El-Adde on January 15.

Speaker after speaker at the funeral described Mr Omenda as having been devoted to defending the country.

Major Johannes Chacha, who represented the Department of Defence (DoD), said Mr Omenda was a humble, brilliant and disciplined soldier.

Maj Chacha added that the death of the soldier was a big blow to the DoD and the entire country in general because he was a promising young man.

“Mr Omenda respected his seniors and peers. This characteristic made him approachable,” Maj Chacha told the mourners.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Mr Ben Afwambo, a retired civil servant, who described his son as loving and disciplined.

Mr Afwamba added that his son was the sole breadwinner of his family.

Meanwhile, Lance Corporal Ekalo William Lokwee was buried in Kalobeyei Village, Turkana West Sub-County, on Saturday.

Turkana leaders — including Turkana West MP Daniel Epuyo, County Education Executive Margaret Kuchal and County Assembly Majority Leader Patrick Losike — joined mourners in giving the fallen soldier a befitting send-off.

The leaders praised the Kenya Defence Forces’ mission to protect the country against Al-Shabaab attacks and urged all Kenyans to unite in the fight against terrorism.

“As we go on with our normal businesses, we should remember that there are people who are protecting us. Some of them are paying the ultimate price of being killed just for us to be safe,” said Mr Epuyo.

The lawmaker said Kenyans who are pushing for KDF’s withdrawal from Somalia were demoralising the soldiers, who should be supported as the war on terrorism intensifies.

“I wonder what the implication of the withdrawal will be. Will it mean that we are defeated?” Mr Epuyo asked.