NAIROBI (AA) – Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday lauded the U.S. for killing Ahmed Abdi Godane, the commander of the Al-Qaeda-linked militant movement, Al-Shabaab in a drone strike in the remote Somali Lower Shebelle region.
He said the “wonderful” news of Godane’s death came while Kenya was still recuperating from an attack by his militant movement on Kenyan soil, one that claimed the lives of 67 people.
“A year ago this month, armed terrorists entered the West-gate mall and committed some of the most savage crimes ever perpetrated on Kenyan soil,” the Kenyan President said in a statement.
He added that his country had prevailed at the end by tending to the wounded victims, burying those who had lost their lives, and vowing not to let this tragedy change the life of its people or their values.
Kenyatta said his country had vowed not to let the crime go unpunished, whether this would happen at the hands of the Kenyan people or at the hands of Kenya’s allies.
On September 21 last year, a group of Al-Shabaab militants attacked West-gate shopping mall in Kenya’s capital Nairobi in retaliation for massive and continuous Kenyan military operations in Somalia. The attack claimed 67 innocent lives.
Kenyatta said the killing of the Al-Shabaab commander is a stark reminder that those who live by the sword shall perish by the sword.
“We owe the United States, and its soldiers, our heartfelt thanks for bringing an end to Godane’s career of death and destruction,” the Kenyan President said.
He added that the operation finally allows Kenyans to start their healing process. He noted that his country and its allies would do everything possible to secure the region and prevent further attacks.
Kenyatta said he would join his countrymen in remembering the victims of the West-gate mall attack.
“We will stand in solidarity with the victims of the West-gate attack for whom Godane’s death provides a small measure of closure,” the President said.
On Friday, the United States said Godane was killed by a drone strike in the remote Somali Lower Shebelle region on Monday.
Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said Godane’s death signaled the destruction of a pillar of the war against his country.
Al-Shabaab has fought the Mogadishu government in several parts of the poverty-stricken country.
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