By NATION TEAM
Monday, July 2 2012 at 23:30-Kenya will not surrender to terrorists in spite of recent attacks in the country, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said on Monday.
Standing on the grounds of Sunday’s twinchurch attacks in Garissa Town, which killed 17 worshippers and left 66 injured, Mr Odinga declared that the operation to rid Somalia of Al-Shabaab militants will continue until victory is achieved.
The PM spoke as Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka criticised international media for equating the attacks to a religious war.
Mr Musyoka termed the reports an exaggeration and said Kenya will not be turned into another Kabul, in apparent reference to the chaos in the Afghan capital.
The raids have been condemned by both Christian and Muslim leaders. During the attacks on the Africa Inland Church and Catholic churches in Garissa, raiders hurled grenades into the compounds and then shot at fleeing worshippers.
All the dead were at the AIC church while two children were injured in the attack on the Catholic church. Mr Odinga said KDF troops will not leave Somalia until the country is liberated and pacified.
Kenya will not be at peace until Somalia which has not known peace for two decades realises peace, Mr Odinga said.
He said: “We want Somalia to be peaceful so that the 500,000 refugees being hosted in Dadaab refugee camp can go back to their country to relieve Kenya of the burden of hosting them.”
And he added: “Surrender is therefore not an option for us because if we leave Somalia, anarchy will set in, which will spill over the borders.”
The PM asked Kenyans to support security forces in fighting terrorism threatening the whole region. He said Al-Shabaab recently joined Al-Qaeda, and there was danger that the terrorist organisations could link up with other groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria to destabilise the whole African continent.
The terrorists, he vowed, will be tracked down, arrested and punished. He said the attackers wanted to incite religious animosity in Kenya.
Muslim leaders who spoke at the meeting condemned the incident saying it had nothing to do with religion but an act of terrorism. They pledged to team up with security forces and their Christian counterparts to protect churches from similar attacks in the future.
Mr Musyoka said: “Muslim leaders have assured us that they will soon start guarding churches to ensure they are secure.” He called on the international community to assist Kenya finance the Somalia operation and the establishment of a stable government in Mogadishu.
Defence minister Yusuf Haji said that such attacks should never happen again. He said government will foot hospital bills and burial expenses of those affected.
Area MP Aden Duale, said Garissa had more than 20 churches and urged all Kenyans to live harmoniously with one another. Nobody, he said, would be allowed to turn Garissa into a Mogadishu or Kabul.