3 KDF heros awarded for rescuing US soldiers during Al Shabaab siege

Kenyan heroes awarded

Soldiers take up position as they take part in a simulated military exercise

The United States military has awarded three Kenya Defence Forces soldiers for their bravery and action after a US military camp in Manda Bay, Lamu County was attacked by Al Shabaab terrorists.

Investigations into the January 5, 2020 incident that left one US soldier and two defence contractors dead, were completed and showed that the US soldiers’ negligence was to blame for the attack.

A report handed to the US Pentagon showed that three KDF commanders single-handedly took charge of the situation as US soldiers in the camp were caught unawares and struggled to get a grasp of the attack.

Using their skills and troops, the KDF commanders were able to mount a retaliation as they waited for US reinforcement that took almost an hour to arrive.

Certain (US) senior officers contributed to the inadequate force protection posture at Manda Bay, and allowed a climate of complacency and poor understanding of the threat,” read the report delivered by General Stephen J Townsend, the commander of US Africa Command.

The report which showed KDF's unmatched bravery was a sharp contrast to a 2020 article by the New York Times that claimed that Kenyan troops hid in the grass during the ambush.

The US Africa Command Director of Operations Major General Gregory Anderson awarded Colonel Daniel Rotich, Major Martin Muthaura and Corporal Peter Shikuri in a ceremony held on Thursday, March 17.

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 US soldiers and KDF 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, teamwork, 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.

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