BY GEOFFREY ISAYA,NAIROBI,KENYA
The United States has committed to continue supporting Kenya in enhancing maritime surveillance, countering violent extremism and fighting terrorism.
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale, who is in the country, on Tuesday said terrorists will not manage to cause divisions among Kenyans and between the two countries.
He spoke shortly after laying a wreath at the August 7 Memorial Park in Nairobi, a day to the 21st commemoration of 1998 bombing of the US embassy, that left 213 people dead. 11 others were killed in Dar es Salam in Tanzania where a US embassy was also targeted.
“We will maintain our strong, strategic alliance with Kenya to fight terrorism threat from Al-Shabaab and any other threatening to destabilize peace here in Kenya,” he asserted in a short brief to journalists.
Majority of those killed in the simultaneous attacks were locals though the terrorist’s main target were US nationals.
Investigations from the US eventually narrowed down to 18 suspects, including their leader Osama Bin Laden, who was eventually killed on May 2, 2011.
US forces have been active in launching airstrikes in Somalia where Kenyan forces under the umbrella of AMISOM are fighting Al Shabaab terrorists.
“Their immediate purpose was to kill and destroy, but they had a bigger agenda, and that was to divide Kenya and America, to undermine our friendship and the values that we hold dear, freedom, justice and peace,” Hale said.
“They failed then, just like terrorists continue to fail in their objectives today. They did not and will not separate America and Kenya,” he stressed.
Despite the militants being extensively weakened, they have launched pockets of attacks within and out of Somalia, with Kenya paying the heaviest price partly due to a porous border between the two countries.
Some 21 years after the deadly attack, terrorists have targeted Kenya’s high-end facilities including institutions of higher learning and shopping malls, killing hundreds of people.
They have also resorted to the use of Improvised Explosive Devices, to target security officers manning boarder towns like Mandera.
On Saturday, 21 September 2013, Westgate shopping mall, an upscale facility in Nairobi, was attacked, leaving 67 people dead.
On 2 April 2015, Garissa University College was attacked, in one of Kenya’s worst terror attack that left 148 people, majority of them students killed.
Three suspects were convicted and jailed over the attack that was also claimed by Al Shabaab militants.