Seventeen police officers who died in a span of a week while fighting terrorists were on Thursday celebrated as heroes and inducted into Kenya’s bravery books.
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet said the country owes the officers and their families tribute and honour and that their deaths will not be in vain.
“The gallant officers lost their lives in defence of their motherland. We have engaged in a very complicated war fighting faceless enemies. We will not dampen our spirit and resolve to emerge victorious. We will defeat them in all their manner, form and manifestation in all parts of the country,” he said.
The officers died between May 24 and 31 in separate incidents in Garissa, Mandera and Lamu.
Their vehicles were blown up by improvised explosive devices that were planted on the roads by al-shabaab militants.
Speaking at the same forum, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery declared an all-out war against the Somalia terrorists group.
“To the terrorists and criminals whose despicable actions caused loss of these lives, we have only one message for you: you can run, but you can’t hide. One way or the other, we shall get you and when we do, you will pay the price,” he said.
Maj Gen (Rtd) Nkaissery added: “The officers whose lives we are honouring here today exemplify the time-honoured spirit of putting one’s life on the line to defend a higher ideal. This is the ideal of democracy and fundamental freedoms that are our way of life. We cannot and shall not allow terrorists to dictate how we live our lives.”
The CS relayed to the families, condolences from President Uhuru Kenyatta.
There was a sombre mood at the Administration Police Training College in Embakasi, Nairobi, where the memorial took place.
The fallen officers came from different units of the AP, including the Rural Border Patrol Unit.
“We are gathered here to mourn with the families of our departed brave and courageous colleagues while at the same time celebrating the lives of the gallant officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty while defending their motherland and indeed their fellow citizens,” said the CS.
“It pains me greatly that we have once again lost many good men and women in the war against terrorism. Among the officers whose life we are celebrating here today include some in their early 20s. To the parents, relatives and friends of the officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty, please accept our heartfelt condolences. We share your grief and wish to reassure you of government’s support during these difficult times.”
Families of officers killed in the line of duty are given restitution because they are covered under a government-sponsored live insurance scheme.
Besides fighting the militants, Maj Gen Nkaissery said, the government would also pursue sympathisers and sponsors of terrorism.