News / Africa

Soldiers in Somalia Present Problems for Families in Kenya

Suban Abdi, who claims one of her sons was recruited into mercenary forces trained by the Kenyan army, sits in a refugee camp, in Dadaab, eastern Kenya. (file photo)
Suban Abdi, who claims one of her sons was recruited into mercenary forces trained by the Kenyan army, sits in a refugee camp, in Dadaab, eastern Kenya. (file photo)

Dozens of ethnic Somali families in northeastern Kenya are increasingly worried for their sons in the Kenyan Defense Forces, who are battling the Islamist militant group al-Shabab in southern Somalia. While the soldiers are away, their families are left without the care of their sons and husbands, and are now dependent on family friends and relatives for support.

The Kenyan military has raised the number of its soldiers killed in Somalia to 15. Among them is Yusuf Koriyo. Koriyo was killed on December 22, 2011 at Gerinle village, which borders Kenya.

Family in need

Fatuma Aden received the news that her husband was killed by a single bullet that hit his chin when his military convoy came under attack from al-Shabab. That day Koriyo was the only soldier killed in the attack.

Fatuma is now left with the burden of raising her 11-month-old girl. She said the last time she received any assistance from the government was in December.

She says when her husband died, soldiers sent her some money.  But she says December was the last month the family received money and that was Yusuf's salary for that month.

This is where Kulmiye Koriyo, a brother-in-law, comes in. He has been providing assistance to Fatuma and her daughter with basic needs.

“We normally offer anything she needs," said Koriyo. "She has a small kid, she don’t take food. She needs milk and clean water; we have to provide them. It is a must because since I am his cousin's brother, any assistance they require from my side I have to give them.”

Soldiers in Somalia Present Problems for Families in Kenya
Soldiers in Somalia Present Problems for Families in Kenya

In October last year, Kenya's defense force launched a military campaign intended to destroy al-Shabab after a wave of kidnappings on Kenyan territory. Al-Shabab has denied responsibility for the kidnappings.

Worrying for sons

The death of Yusuf Koriyo has left many families in Garissa worried about their sons on the frontline. Mohamed, who prefers to give just his first name, is from one such family. He has a brother serving in the military, stationed on the road between Tabta and Qoqani Somalia's Lower Juba region.

He says as a young man growing up in northeastern Kenya he wanted to join the military but his perception has changed since the death of Yusuf Koriyo and how Koriyo's family has been treated by the Kenyan government.

“My perception has changed," he said. "Before, each and every youth, it was a career most of us wanted to join:  the military to defend the country.  But so far you can imagine [the] military is only thinking about you when you are present in your country. Their interest is when you are working. Once you die they completely forgot about you.”

Kulmiye Koriyo agrees there is nothing to be proud of in being a Kenyan soldier after how his brother-in-law's family was treated. 

“My sister-in-law, she was not happy at all," added Koriyo. "If someone passes like a month ago and the salary ends like that its inhuman, unfair. I suggest it’s not good being a [in the] military since this is what they do if somebody passes away. That is the end of his life and his family. It not a good job.”

Discouraging treatment

Koriyo warns such treatment will discourage other families, and make them urge their sons to resign from their duties.  

Mohamed says his mother is disturbed to see her son on the battlefield and hopes she has the power to get her son back.

“Our life has completely changed," he said. "He was the sole bread winner of our family.  We have not communicated to him for the last two months. We don’t know if he is alive or wounded or they are hiding [something] from us. We don’t have access to him in terms of information, communication and even the care of his family and we are really scrambling here and there. We [are] trying. Our best well-wishers are also helping us. You can imagine one morning you wake up and have nothing.”

As the battle rages on inside Somalia, Kenyan forces have taken control of several towns in the last two weeks. The families hope their sons and husband come home alive, and that the government will look for ways to address their problems.

You May Like

Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More