The United States Africa Command (US AFRICOM) has awarded three Kenya Defence Forces Service Personnel with the Joint Service Commendation medals for their heroic actions during the 5th January 2020 Al-Shabaab attack at Manda Base, in Lamu County.
The US AFRICOM Director of Operations Major General Gregory Anderson awarded Colonel Daniel Rotich, Major Martin Muthaura and Corporal Peter Shikuri with the meritorious awards for their swift response in countering and thwarting the terrorists that had attacked Camp Simba in Manda, that hosts KDF and US military.
Colonel Rotich, as the Deputy Commander of Operation Fagia Msitu at the time, was recognized for his technical acumen of coordinating air to ground support throughout the lethal engagement with the militia.
He was responsible for the McDonnel Douglas 500 Defender helicopter mini-gun engagements that changed the momentum of the firefight between United States and Kenya Defence Forces against the terrorists.
“Colonel Rotich’s superior leadership, technical and tactical abilities, coupled with his dedication to duty and selfless service were critical in the defeat of a platoon size element of the terrorists,” read his citation in part.
Major Muthaura, as the Alpha Company Commander of the Kenya Ranger Regiment, received the award for his ability to assemble a platoon-size element of his troops and providing one squad to support the US forces at the airfield.
He took another squad to the jungle that surrounded the airbase and assaulted the terrorists without concern of his own personal welfare, to successfully clear the perimeter of all enemy forces.
“Major Muthaura’s superior leadership, courage under fire and dedication to duty were critical in the defeat of the terrorists who attacked the airfield at Manda. His leadership during the engagement changed the momentum of the firefight between the US and KDF against the terrorists,” part of his citation read.
On the other hand, Corporal Shikuri was awarded for his dedication to duty and determination to prevail against the enemy. His efforts were critical in the defeat of the terrorists. He demonstrated incredible initiative and bravery during the assault on the terrorists even after being wounded.
Speaking during the award ceremony Major General Anderson thanked the three warriors for their, team work, value and confidence which were instrumental in fighting the militia during the attack.
“You kept yourself on the frontline to protect others and save your nation. This is indeed commendable and we thank you for your courage and bravery,” said Major General Anderson.
“The distinctive accomplishments of the three Service Personnel reflect credit upon themselves and KDF by the meritorious achievement in different capacities on the critical roles they played to ensure the militia were neutralized,” added Major General Anderson.
He said that the US AFRICOM remains determined to partner with Kenya in the fight against terrorism which has become a global threat.
Vice Chief of the Defence Forces (VCDF) Lieutenant General Francis Ogolla hailed the three gallant soldiers saying they demonstrated the spirit of the Kenyan troops in adherence to the oath they signed to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Kenya.
He said that KDF recognizes all the soldiers who participated in various ways in countering the terrorists saying that their input contributed to the successful defeat of the enemy.
“You, receiving these medals, are representatives of KDF officers and service members. Everyone who took part in the operation is recognized,” said the VCDF.
He implored on all soldiers to maintain the spirit of valour and keep up the good work whenever called upon including those deployed in peace keeping missions in the region and beyond.
The VCDF thanked US AFRICOM saying they have been long time KDF partners in counter-terrorism and training of troops.
The event was attended by Assistant Chief of Defence Forces Personnel and Logistics (ACDF P&L) Major General Muthuri Kiugu, Assistant Chief of Defence Forces Operations, Doctrine and Training (ACDF OPD&T) Major General Peter Muteti, General Officers, Senior Officers, Officers and Service Members.