The Somalia President has denied reports that he said between 180 and 200 KDF troops were killed by al Shabaab in El Adde on January 15.
Through spokesman Daud Awes, Hassan Mohamud said he was “misquoted” and that he did not not mean the figures were of soldiers massacred in the ambush.
Mohamoud said he was only describing the size of a camp and the number of soldiers believed to have been present during the attack.
He told Somali Cable TV during an interview last Thursday that: “When 180 or close to 200 soldiers who were sent to us are killed in one day in Somalia, it is not easy.”
“The soldiers had been sent to help us get peace in our country and their families are convinced that they died while on duty.”
Sources at Villa Somalia (State House) said the retraction followed a protest letter to Mogadishu in which Kenya termed the claims “grossly out of order”.
KDF spokesman David Obonyo told the Star on phone on Thursday that the matter of the number of casualties in the ambush should not be trivialised
He said he has not talked to any media house about the number of troops killed.
“We should stop trivializing the dead . They are not mere statistics. They ought to be treated with honour and respect,” he said.
“The number the Somalia president quoted is way beyond a company size.”
A company is a military unit led by a Major or Captain, comprising three platoons each commanded by a Lieutenant with a total number of between 80 and 250.
Mohamoud mentioned the figures during an interview concerning his recent visit to Kenya soon after an attack on Lido beach attack in Mogadishu.
He joined President Uhuru Kenyatta and Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari in honouring slain Kenya Defence Forces in Eldoret.