Al Shabaab releases Kenyan prisoner video
Mogadishu, Somalia (Anadolu Agency + DIPLOMAT.SO) – The Somalia-based al-Shabaab militant group on Thursday released a video of a man in a Kenyan army uniform pleading for President Uhuru Kenyatta to negotiate for his release.
In the video, the man, who identifies himself as Leonard Maingi Kiiyo, says he belonged to the 9th Battalion of the African Union Mission In Somalia Peacekeeping Mission (AMISOM) and was captured on Jan. 15 during an attack on a Kenyan military base in El Adde, in southwestern Somalia.
“While at El Adde we were attacked by al-Shabaab, more than 100 of my fellow soldiers were killed and others including myself were captured,” he says without specifying the number.
“My message goes to all Kenyans; I am pleading with you to come together in an effort to secure my release, I am not alone I am with my comrades,” he adds.
He also calls on President Uhuru Kenyatta to negotiate with the militants to secure his release and that of his comrades from their hands.
More than 60 Kenyan soldiers were killed during the attack on El Adde in January this year, for which the group claimed responsibility.
The exact number is not known as the Kenyan government has never released an official death toll. The figure 60 was compiled from numbers that the Ministry of Defense in Kenya issued over a long period of time as the bodies of the slain soldiers were being flown to the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
Maingi was indeed among soldiers who were reported missing by family members after the El Adde attack and recorded in a list that was handed over to the government.
This is the second video released by the al-Qaeda affiliate group of prisoners captured in the East African region. Earlier this week, it released a video of a man in a Ugandan uniform also urging his government to help in securing his release.
Over 20,000 African Union troops are stationed in Somalia to participate in the fight against the militant group.