September 02 2014 04:33:14
Users Online
· Guests Online: 22

· Members Online: 0

· Total Members: 108
· Newest Member: Abdi shukri
Latest Articles
· Dadka tayada leh tal...
· United States: The P...
BBC & VOA Somali

BBC Somali 04:00
BBC Somali 11:00
BBC Somali 14:00
BBC Somali 18:00

VOA Somali 16:00
VOA Somali 17:00
VOA Somali 19:00
VOA Somali 20:00


The Battle for Hoosingo.
EnglishThe Battle for Hoosingo.


Monday, October 22, 2012


Special forces storm into an unspecified target in Somalia. Photo/FILE



On January 22, 2012, Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers were sent to liberate Hoosingo, a town in south Somalia. The force was expected to link up with Somalia’s Transitional Federation Forces (TFG) for the task.

At 2200 hours, the officer commanding the team radioed that his men had run into an Al-Shabaab ambush. A two-hour battle ensued.

Lt Col Jeff Nyaga expected the worst.

“I was told that we had lost two officers,” he recalls.

That day was the saddest for the troops since rolling into Somalia in October 2011. The slain officers, Lt Edward Juma Okoto and Lt Kevin Anamunyi Webi, were popular with the troops.

A month before his deployment, Lt Okoto had married in a ceremony attended by a number of those he was serving with. Photographs from his wedding and the long calls he used to make to his newly-wedded wife, Doreen Magak were talked about in the long and boring nights in the Somali bushes.

Other than his friendliness, Lt Webi was the best officer cadet in leadership and command and winner of the Sword of Honour during the 2009 military graduation.

The deaths left the soldiers with many questions. One of the most disturbed was their commander, Lt Col Nyaga. It was a test of his leadership because the lives of all his men depended on him.

“Sir, we have lost our colleagues but we have to accomplish the mission at hand. We have to liberate Hoosingo,” he recalled one of his men telling him.

By the time he arrived at the scene to pick up the bodies, the soldiers were eager to fight.

“They did not want to stop,” Lt Col Nyaga told DN2.

After the deaths of the two officers, two others were deployed from the Eldoret barracks to command the men from Nanyuki.

The attack delayed the liberation of Hoosingo, but it eventually fell.

Hoosingo would prove to be one difficult task for the Kenyan troops.

Before the start of April, deployment had resulted in the reduction of men at the Hoosingo base. Unknown to KDF, the enemy was monitoring its movements.

According to captured Al-Shabaab fighters, the militia had secretly organised a force to wipe out the Kenyans. Observers would see hundreds of Al-Shabaab fighters approaching. Reports of other movements farther afield were heard.

The Kenyans were about to be slaughtered. They were outnumbered, had little ammunition and, it being a rainy season, it was both difficult to escape and tricky for reinforcements to be brought in.

However, reinforcements arrived at the KDF military base on April 4. Major Father Makau, the military chaplain and first clergyman to be deployed to the front line, was cracking jokes to boost the morale of the troops when the enemy stuck.

“Decisions had to be made quickly,” recalls Major Father Makau.

The shooting was so rapid and from all directions. Even the most battle-hardened soldier would have lost his cool. Major Father Makau remembers reminding Lt Col Nyaga to fix his boot straps.

For a commander who always insisted on his men being dressed in full combat gear, the untied shoes were a revelation of the heat he was under at that moment. The man of God had to offer more than just spiritual nourishment; he had to be involved in the fighting to beat back the enemy.

After the first two hours, Major Father Makau told Lt Col Nyaga that the ammunition was running out.

“I called my second in command and told him to deploy anyone, including the cooks, for reinforcement and to move supplies from Dobley (sector headquarters) to Hoosingo,” Lt Col Nyaga recalled during KDF day celebrations last week. Lt Col Nyaga also turned to his friend and former training colleague at the Kenya Military Academy, Lt Col Omenda for aerial support.

Lt Col Omenda, the pilot of a helicopter gunship, made a brave decision that would have cost him his job if anything had gone wrong.

Although the gunship was required to have at least one fighter helicopter for support and protection, Lt Col Omenda decided to fly in alone. With about 100 men staring death in the face, there was no time to think about job security.

“That single air strike changed the battle. That was the turning point for Operation Linda Nchi,” Lt Col Nyaga said.

In what is now known as the battle for Hoosingo, about 100 KDF men fought an estimated 500 to 800 Al-Shabaab fighters. “We shot, shot, and shot until we got tired. The more we wounded, the more reinforcements they brought in,” remembers Major Father Makau.

The battle lasted six hours and 20 minutes and almost 400 Al-Shabaab fighters were buried in the next days.

“The stench of death was overwhelming,” said a private.

KDF did not suffer any casualties in that battle except for an armoured personal carrier that had an accident on the way to Hoosingo, injuring a few men.

The other serious challenge for KDF was in Tabda, when the KDF patrol base came under machine gun fire and mortar attack. The base was a kilometre from the town with a population of 600.

If the Kenyan troops had responded, the civilian casualties would have been unacceptably high. The Kenyan military says the means used to end the attack is classified.

From Tabda, the troops moved to liberate Xayo, then Afmadow town in a largely bloodless battle.

After leaving Afmadow and on the way to liberate Kismayu, KDF suffered the single greatest loss on Somali soil during fighting at Miido town.

The fight the following morning, four KDF men died. Two are still missing.

DISPATCHES FROM WAR

It is a cold morning at Tabda. Old military fatigues cover a shack where a senior officer is bathing. A private has almost given up waiting for his boss to get out of the bathroom. Suddenly the private shouts “Mortar! mortar! mortar!”

Commissioned officers having a cup of tea under a tree rush to the handakis, the ditches.

By the time the private arrives in his small ditch, he finds his panting senior already there.

KDF soldiers recount such stories to brighten their days in Somalia as they struggle with loneliness, boredom, and fear.

The deployment has tested their emotional muscle and that of their families. They are linked by the fragile thread of the Internet and cell phones to keep in touch with their families.

Many of the soldiers went to the battle front before putting their affairs in order.

Almost all the soldiers DN2 interviewed ahead of the fall of Afmadow said they had not written a will.

But the stories of “this jungle”, as our handler Captain Hamisi puts it, can bury the fears, kill the loneliness, and make the uncomfortable appear interesting.

In the trenches, nights punctuated by the laughter of hyenas and the buzz of mosquitoes can be unbearably cold, the days blazingly hot.

The troops are expected to walk around in full combat gear and carrying new American M4 light automatic rifles. Others have the more familiar G3.

One of the units is said to have been reluctant to use the American weapon fearing that it was less powerful.

Some of the camps, especially those located in the southern sector, have been invaded by scorpions. But soldiers told us that scorpions were not as worrying as poisonous spiders.

We observed that there was always a soldier on the lookout for nocturnal noisemakers, fellows who want to shower while others are sleeping, thus ruining valuable resting time.

The soldiers sleep in foxholes with their guns at the ready. A few hyenas in search for food have soaked up bullets for venturing too close to the foxholes.

Troops keep in touch with their families through Hormuud Telecom, a local mobile telephony provider.

Interestingly, Somalia has good mobile network services run by individuals.

“When we want to take over a town and we fear that Al-Shabaab spies and informers will use mobile phones to inform on our moves, we ask the mobile telephony operator to switch off the network or we bomb it,” an officer offers.

Mobile phones are the main source of entertainment for the soldiers. Others have iPads. And, as you must have guessed, there is always a long queue to charge the gadgets when the generator is switched on. Seniors charge first.

Rations are dished out as the men advance during operations. Once the defensive positions have been established, a team prepares meals.
Comments
#1 | Discount North Face Jackets on November 16 2012 20:57:35
North Face Jackets upon hot-sale these days. The actual North Face Pink Ribbon tend to be increasingly more well-liked by individuals. Putting on the actual Discount North Face Jackets , you'll find the actual supplies are extremely gentle and also the style tend to be ideal.
Post Comment
Please Login to Post a Comment.
Ratings
Rating is available to Members only.

Please login or register to vote.

No Ratings have been Posted.

Radio Xoriyo

Login
Username

Password



Not a member yet?
Click here to register.

Forgotten your password?
Request a new one here.
Shoutbox
You must login to post a message.

14/01/2014 06:33
waxaan halgan hubaysan ahyn iyo qalin wada socda xornimo ha ku filan

ancik
08/01/2014 22:32

jarak
08/01/2014 22:30

ChomeGewjew
08/01/2014 13:33
<a href=http://www.im
mef.com>Mulberry On Sale</a> xtydqado fzrqqjyp <a href=http://www.sk
dprod.com>Mulberry Bags Outlet</a> fflkyfkt qnxvwwyt <a href=http://www.hk
-iscap.net

axmed
29/12/2013 14:51
we need peace, not war. stop advocating war.

LAAGTA RUQAAYI
25/12/2013 12:52
waad kumahadsantihiin hawsha aad noo wadaan ogadentoday

Khadar cabdi risaq farah
22/12/2013 06:04
Ogadenia wayxorobi dontaa insha.alah

Khadar j.w.x.o
22/12/2013 06:01
J.w.x.o hanoolatu jooooooooooo!!!

Khadar ogadenia
22/12/2013 05:59
Ethnpia waa in an iska rebna oon iskacelina

Buubaal
19/12/2013 17:34
Waa inaan ka tashanaa labada cadow Ethiopia iyo qabaailaadka somaalida sida aanu yeeli laheen

Buubaal
19/12/2013 17:15
Waa arin u baahan inaan ka doodno

khalid
11/12/2013 02:45
dhalinyarad ogaden way dhiban yihiin wllahi

fixri
08/12/2013 17:11
hay

Osman
05/12/2013 06:12
Haa

QuentyHeent
05/12/2013 00:26
Companions can definitely relish the flavour of ambiance, by employing the prime aphrodisiac as the most delicious way to declare 'I adore you.' Lovely sentiments translate well even though in

Render time: 1.39 seconds 15,029,034 unique visits