Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia, overran an AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) base in the town of El Adde. At sunrise, two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) cleared the way for hundreds of jihadists to stream into the base. The Kenyan forces manning the facility were quickly outmatched. The United Nations later found that “150 Kenyan soldiers were killed during the attack, making it the largest military defeat in Kenyan history.”
Not all of the Kenyan soldiers were killed. At least 11 of them, according to the UN, “were captured alive and subsequently held hostage in two separate groups by” Shabaab in the Middle Juba region of southern Somalia.
One of those Kenyan soldiers, Alfred Danyi Kilasi (seen obove), appeared in a Shabaab video released online earlier today – more than 16 months after he was taken captive. The video, along with an English transcript, was produced by Al-Kataib Foundation for Media, Shabaab’s propaganda arm.
“My name is Senior Private Alfred Danyi Kilasi,” the Kenyan begins. “I was born in 1987 in Western Province, Vihiga County, Vigeena village. I joined the army on 10 October 2010 and after training, I was posted to Nenkea, Moi Barracks.”
“On the 15th of January last year,” Kilasi continues, “I remember vividly that while we were in El Adde, we were attacked by Al Shabaab. They infiltrated our camp and took over our defense posts. We lost our comrades and we were captured as prisoners.”
Shabaab has Kilasi criticize his own government and plead with the Kenyan people to intercede on his behalf.
“From that time up to now, we have been in captivity and have not received any report from our government,” Kilasi says, as the camera zooms in on a “Kenya” patch on his uniform. “We have not received any kind of assistance. We are pleading with the Kenyan public to come together and find a solution for this dilemma that we are faced with. Right now, we have no one else to help us except you.”
“I am pleading with the leaders in Kenya,” Kilasi adds. “Where are you? We are suffering here in Somalia and are in dire need of your assistance. This is an election year and so we are pleading that before you go for elections, look for any means in which you can save us for we are your brethren.”
Kilasi’s tragic appearance is the latest instance in which Shabaab has used the Jan. 2016 attack, and the aftermath, in its propaganda.