Kenya Defence Forces spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna said al-Shabaab’s merger with al-Qaeda had opened the way for other international players involved in the fight against terrorism to take part in the war against al-Shabaab.
He also said the merger was a sign that the militant group had been significantly weakened and could not operate alone, having lost at least eight of its top commanders in recent times.
Col Oguna also reiterated that the KDF did not go to Somali to secure territories but to reduce al-Shabaab’s threat to the country.
He said that the KDF will only move to the strategic port city of Kismayu when other areas are secure.
“What is the point of rushing to Kismayu when we leave people behind vulnerable to the attacks?” posed the spokesman.
Col Oguna said the armed forces were confident internal security organs were able to tackle security challenges within Kenya, and the KDF would not be actively involved in the operations.
“Our primary role is the defence of the country from external aggression,” he said.
He was speaking during the weekly KDF briefing at the Telposta Plaza, on Saturday.
Meanwhile police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said the suspects behind the improvised explosive devises (IED) attacks and sporadic shootings in Northern Kenya have been identified and are expected to be arrested any time and taken to court.
Mr Kiraithe said that with the intelligence so far collected, he was convinced the attacks would cease.
He also said State security agents and leaders and residents in North Eastern province had agreed to co-operate to tackle security issues.
Mr Kiraithe also urged Kenyans to continue being vigilant, saying that because of the injuries and setbacks al-Shabaab had suffered, they were likely to hit back at soft targets.
“With internal vigilance, we are capable of preventing these attacks,” he said.
Meanwhile, the military has warned that any officer found to have violated the rights of citizens in the course of security operations will be dealt with firmly.
Major General Frank Nthenge, the officer in charge of operations, said officers were not expected to wilfully and unlawfully assault any person or destroy any property.
But he cautioned against blaming the entire force and encouraged greater engagement with security agents.
He was speaking on Friday at a breakfast meeting organised by the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslim and the Kenya Youth Alliance.
Some residents in Northern Kenya have complained that the government forces were meting out collective punishment whenever there was an attack in the region.
They further alleged that the response with brute force and the victimisation of innocent people had negatively affected community policing.