Other recent posts by Chris:
The Bitter Option Indeed
Could this be what the government is doing with US Dollars?
There was very heavy gunfire outside and I was huddled inside the tiny cupboard with my mother and younger brother (two years younger than me). I was only a handful of years old but I was really scared. More scared than I have ever been in my life. My kid brother threw up in the cupboard all over my mum’s night gown. This was Isiolo. My dad was not home having gone to the officer’s mess for his usual evening drink and Shifta bandits had raided the town and taken everybody (including the heavy Kenya Army presence) completely by surprise. I can remember the events of that day as if it was only yesterday, young as I was then.
An American marine stripped almost naked and being dragged painfully along the streets of Mogadishu to a large crowd of cheering onlookers in the early 1990s shortly before President Clinton hurriedly pulled out American forces from the Wildest Wild West of Africa. Can the Kenya Army now win a war that American could not?
Years later I learnt that things had not been any better at the mess which was a stone’s throw from where we lived. Everybody had taken cover when the Somali Shifta gunfire had started, including my dad. Somebody had also hit the lights and the place was in darkness. But after a short while my dad noticed some liquid on the floor near him. There seemed to be a leak somewhere. Or had somebody poured petrol into the place waiting to ignite it and destroy everything and everybody in there? He anxiously scooped up the liquid and carefully smelt it. It wasn’t petrol. It was human urine. The officer taking cover right next to him had passed urine over himself in fear.
As you might have guessed I survived that unforgettable night of 1968. Somehow the Soldiers and police in town managed to keep the Shifta bandits at bay but fighting continued into the wee hours of the morning because I remember dozing off with gun fire still ringing in my ears.
That was the Shifta war of the late 1960s. Now history has brought us full circle and the new name for the same enemy is Al Shabab.
As predicted by this blogger in my raw notes months ago, after being defeated in Mogadishu, the Al Shabab have resorted to guerrilla tactics against Kenya. These Somali terrorists have become such a serious threat to Kenya that for the first time in the history of our nation we are at war. Nobody wants to say it but that is exactly what is happening as you read this.
The Kenya Army has been deployed to our borders with orders to neutralize all Al Shabab threats 100 KM into Somalia from our borders. If that is not full scale war, then I need to go back to school to learn English.
This new development brings back old memories of the terror that the Shifta unleashed on Kenyans. You see the Somalis are masters of guerrilla tactics and if you do not believe it ask the crack American Marines who were defeated very embarrassingly on the streets of Mogadishu in the early 1990s.
In other words we have entered a Vietnam situation. For those who throw up at the mention of history a quick translation is in order. Ladies and Gentlemen the Kenya army has entered a war that it can never win. We lost the shifta war of the late sixties with very heavy casualties and there is nothing to suggest that this time round the results will be different.
Admittedly we have very few options in this matter as our neighbours Somali seem to be very determined to share their chaos with us. Even full international intervention will not wipe out the Al Shabab threat overnight.
I hate to be the one to break this to you on a Monday morning of all days... but apart from our other numerous problems, including a free falling Kenyan Shilling that is yet to hit the ground, we are now at war as a nation.
God help Kenya.
Kenyan Forces Pursue Al Shabab into Somalia