Post-Independence Low Intensity Conflict In Kenya CSC 1992 SUBJECT AREA History EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Title: Post-Independence Low Intensity Conflict In Kenya Author: Major H. K. Biwott (Robb), Student, United States Marine Corps. Background: Between 1963 and 1979 Kenya was faced with a serious armed conflict with the people of Somali origin living in the North Eastern province. The focus of the conflict was secession to Somalia. With the support of Somali government, the ideology spread into NFD, a Somali predominant region in Kenya, The Somalis in Ogaden and the Haud in Ethiopia initiated the whole campaign by forming an irredentist movement during the pre-colonial era. The primary purpose for this movement was to fight for a unified Somalia comprising of all the Somali speaking people in the Horn of Africa. British colonialists attempted to resolve the matter by appointing an independent Commission of Inquiry to carry out a referendum exercise to verify the desire of the Somali community in the Northern Frontier District. Although the Commission established that the interest of the Somali people was to secede, the Kenyatta government refused to allow them to secede. Consequently, an armed insurrection erupted. In response, the Kenyan government deployed troops to counter the secessionist irredentists liberators. Having fought a successful and an intense battle with the Somali irredentist, the original problem remains unsettled. The Somali government has not renounced their claim on the Kenyas' NFD. The secession ideology is still unresolved to date. Recommendation: The Kenya government and the Somalia Government should be made to resolve the issue by first and foremost, Somalia renouncing her territorial claims of NFD, and by signing a treaty in the United Nations ratifying the agreement. Both nations should pledge to honor the existing boundaries and to live in peace. These resolutions must be endorsed and ratified by the Organization Of African Unity. OUTLINE Thesis: Although Kenya battled the pro-Somali insurgent irredentists who fought to liberate the Northern Frontier District and annex it to Somalia, the predicament is still unresolved. For the insurgency to be defeated, a multifaceted approach was needed: adaptation in the Kenyan Army's tactics, favorable operational approach in the Kenya's political and economic handling of the NFD, while the reduction in outside support (by Somalia) also helped. A coordinated military, political, and psychological campaign was necessary to counter the insurgency. For the last decade peace has continued to prevail in the region despite the continued deployment of troops in the Northern Frontier Province. The matter requires a lasting solution to avoid any future military confrontations. I. Introduction. II. The people. III. Politics. IV. The Dispute. V. Conclusion THE CONTENTS 1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. 2. OUTLINE. 3. FOREWORD. 4. PREAMBLE. 5. THE COUNTRY AND THE PEOPLE. 6. THE POLITICAL OVERVIEW. 7. THE DISPUTE. 8. THE SKIRMISHES. 9. THE CONFLICT. 10.THE OGADEN WAR. 11 . LESSONS LEARNED. 12 .CONCLUSION. 13. BIBLIOGRAPHY. 14. GLOSSARY 15.LIST OF MAPS. I. THE SOMALIA DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC - MAP.1 II. CLAN-FAMILIES DISTRIBUTION - MAP.2 III. THE HORN OF AFRICA - MAP. 3 IV. KENYA'S NORTHERN FRONTIER DISTRICT- -MAP. 4 V. THE HORN OF AFRICA - 2 MAP. 5 FOREWORD This paper does not try to pre-empt war between Kenya and Somalia. It does not either prophecy or conjecture a possible reaction between the two nations. The doctrine, machinations, and the conflict discussed in this paper are based on real situations and people. Many may find shortcomings in some of the phrases or actions decided during the skirmishes. However, this bears a true reflection of events that took place in the conflict. The center of focus is the dispute and the campaign activity which began soon after Kenya attained her independence. The scenario and units mentioned are in consonance with actual occurrence. Finally, I wish to apologize for any references which may appear humiliating and sometimes annoying to a cross section of people who either participated in the campaign or merely sympathized with the situation. This paper basically analyses and illustrates what transpired, the reasons why, the cause, and the lessons learned by the Kenya Defence Forces. The socio-political premises were given alot of emphasis in this paper since they provided for a primary platform for this conflict. The final conclusion focuses on the overriding circumstances under which such issues are common in the continent of Africa and in particular, in the Horn of Africa. It ends with a recommendation on the Kenya-Somalia dispute, a dispute which dates back to the pre-independence era. INTRODUCTION Following Kenya's independence from British colonial rule on 12th December, 1963, the country faced a serious armed conflict with the Somali community in the Northern Frontier District which was getting support from the government of neighboring Somalia. The estimated Somali community of 250,000, who had migrated into the region between 1894 and 1912 was fighting to secede from Kenya to form part of greater Somalia. Throughout the period between 1963 and 1967 there were serious armed skirmishes which translated into massive loss of life on both sides. The Kenya government suffered serious set backs due to the lack of local support and adequate intelligence network. Another drawback was the encountering of a two-pronged attack by the Somalis in Ogaden, Ethiopia, and those from Somalia who had formed a strong irredentists force to fight for an homogeneous Somali community. Over the period, the central government of Somalia offered the irredentist moral and material support in both North Eastern Kenya and South Eastern Ethiopia. Further external support was received from some former colonialists and Arab sympathizers. Following these developments, Kenya government contemplated introducing military forces in the Northern Frontier District to combat the envisioned protracted guerrilla campaign by the Somali irredentist. In June, 1963, military posts were established in the towns of Mandera, Garissa, and Wajir. Outposts were subsequently also organized at Buna, Gurar, Moyale, and Malka-Mari. To date, military detachments and outposts are still in these towns to ensure that peace prevails in the region. THE COUNTRY AND THE PEOPLE OF SOMALI ORIGIN Somalia is a nation which embraces an homogeneous society with one religion, one common cultural heritage, and one language. The Somali people were founded from two cousins of the prophet Mohamed: Samaale and Sab. The family of Samaale became nomads while the family of Sab became settled farmers. The Somalis have a very strong background of family clanism segmented further into lineages which form their basic dialectical identity. The Somali-speaking people are divided into six clan families comprising 75% of the Somalis coming from the offsprings of Samaale. These are the Darod, Hawiye, Isaaq, and Dir. The offsprings of Sab are the Digil and Rahanweyn which form the other 20% of the Somalis. The remaining 5% are the non-Somali speaking people. The Somali speaking people inhabit three nations within the Horn of Africa: Djibouti, North Eastern Kenya, and South Eastern Ethiopia (Haud/Ogaden). ( Ref: outline of Somali genealogy map 1.) Click here to view image Somalia was founded by a unification of two pre-colonial territories: the former British Somaliland in the North and the former Italian Somaliland in the South. Both attained independence almost at the same time on July 1st, 1960. That same year, the two formed a merger to create what is currently known as the Somali Republic, which later changed to the Somali Democratic Republic. However, the immediate post-independent era witnessed internal socio-political instability centered on two main issues: the amalgamation of the two former colonial territories and the support of the irredentist conflict activities in North Eastern Kenya and South Eastern Ethiopia. POLITICAL OVERVIEW After an excruciating political campaign between the political aspirants from former British Somalia and the former Italian Somalia in July 1960, Mr Aden Abdulla Osman became the first president and Dr Abdirashid Ali Shermarke became the first prime minister. During the next general elections of 1964, Mr Abdirazak Haji Hussein became the second Prime Minister while Mr Aden Abdulla Osman continued to be the president. Mr A.H Hussein was considered by his contemporary political opponent, Dr Abdirashid Ali Shermarke, as favouring Ethiopian and Kenyas' legitimate sovereignty over Somali occupied areas. Despite many internal rivalries, President Aden Abdulla Osman appointed Mr Hussein the Prime Minister and he remained in office until the 1967 general elections. The general election of 1967 changed the political line. Mr Abdirashid Ali Shermarke was elected the president and Mr Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal became the Prime Minister. Mr Egal was a moderate personality while believing in Pan-Somalism, desired to improve relations with other surrounding African countries. He preferred directing the nations energies to combating socio- economic evils instead of confrontations with neighboring countries. Although he favoured good relationship with Kenya and Ethhiopia, he did not acknowledge Somalia's territorial claims. He however, created an atmosphere where the matters could be negotiated peacefully. This notwithstanding, Prime Minister Mohamed Egal's administration was seen by his opponents as a corrupt regime riddled with complex nepotism. Eventually, Somali political intellectuals and members of the Armed forces became greatly disgruntled with the trend of Egal's administration. During the early stages of Somalia's independence, the military were deliberately denied political participation. Military pre-occupation with the Kenya-Ethiopian border activities contributed to preventing military involvement in politics. However, the military were increasingly dissatisfied with the deteriorating situation, particularly the lack of progress in solving the Pan-Somali issue. On the October 15th, 1969, hardly two years after the general election, Dr Abdirashid Ali Shermarke was assassinated by his personal body guard over his alleged mistreatment of the assailants' small relatives. However, it was perceived by the world community as a covert scheme by the military to pave way for a premeditated coup attempt, motivated by their dissatisfaction with the government. Coincidentally, Mr Mohammed Egal was out of the country when the President was assassinated. On his return, he arranged for the selection of another candidate for the Presidency, a member from the Darod clan-family. Mr Egal was from the Isaaq clan while the Late president was from the Darod clan, therefore, the replacement was by a fellow clansman of the slain president. Once again, this selection displeased a portion of the Armed Forces and civilian critics, who desired a more radical leader. Consequently, during the morning of October 21st, 1969, Army units took positions in Mogadishu and rounded up all senior political leaders and other influential individuals. The Police had no option, but to reluctantly collaborate with the Army. The civilian government was immediately toppled, replaced with the Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC), and Major General Mohammed Siad Barre, commander of the Somalia National Army was immediately installed as its President. The fundamental goals of the new military junta were: to end tribalism, nepotism, corruption, and misrule; the honoring of existing treaties, and full support of the national liberation movements seeking Somali unification. Henceforth, the name of the Somali Republic was changed to the Somali Democratic Republic (SDR). Observers believed that the Soviet Union, who was then a very close ally of Somalia, had masterminded the coup in order to enhance her regional strategic interests in the area. THE DISPUTE The Kenya-Somalia dispute has not been about land, but rather about unification of all Somalis within Somali Republic and the neighboring countries. The present disputed frontier, the Northern Frontier District, (Ref: Map-5 & 6) was an historical accident dating back to Britain's treaty with Italy which partitioned the Sudan and East Africa from Ethiopia and placed the Somalia plateau into British and Italian zones of influence for administrative purposes. In 1909, the Somalis' Westward migration had reached the Tana River and had driven the Boran Galla out of Wajir, as well as many other small tribes in the area. In 1912, Wajir was occupied by the British constabulary, but had to be hastily evacuated four years later after 80 people were killed in a surprise attack by Somalis against Lt Elliot's constabulary at Serenli in the upper Juba. However, the Northern Frontier District came under effective British administration for the first time when Moyale and Wajir were garrisoned by regular British troops in 1919. The Somalis' westward movement was interrupted by the British colonial administration between 1895 and 1912. In 1920 Lord Milner concluded a convention to Italy handing over the strip on the Juba which by then formed part of Kenyan territory. (Ref Map 5). According to Lord Milner's opinion, it was administratively uneconomical to retain the Juba section. However, prior to implementation, there was a legal requirement for the British Parliament to ratify the treaty allowing the Jubaland region to become part of the Italian colony. However, it was not until the 29th of June, 1925 when the treaty was finally ratified. Kenya still claims that Britain was morally wrong to have ceded Jubaland. Perhaps this is why the British did not want to support again the Somali campaign demanding the secession of NFD to Somalia, since this move could have created tension. The British justified their handing over of Jubaland to Italian colonialist by maintaining that this was the only way to keep Somalia together as a single society and to allow Somalis full utilization of their traditional grazing lands. The emergence of the dispute between Kenya and Somalia was further triggered by the achievement of independence by both countries. This came about when the Somali community in Kenya publicly opted to become part of the Somalia Republic. One of the first Prime Ministers of Somalia, Dr Abdirashid Ali Shermarke once made a sentimental statement about the dispute: "Our misfortunes do not stem from the unproductiveness of the soil, nor from a lack of mineral wealth. These limitations on our material well- being were accepted and compensated for by our forefathers from whom we inherited, among other thing, a spiritual and cultural prosperity of inestimable value: Click here to view image the teaching of Islam on the one hand and lyric poetry on the other. . . .NO! Our misfortune is that our neighboring countries, with whom like the rest of Africa, we seek to promote constructive and harmonious relations, are not our neighbors. Our neighbors are our Somali kinsmen whose citizenship has been falsified by indiscriminate boundary "arrangements". They have to move across artificial frontiers to their pasture lands. They occupy the same terrain and pursue the same pastoral economy as ourselves. We speak the same language. We share the same creed, the same culture, and the same traditions. How can we regard our brothers as foreigners?" (Ref: Map 2) GREATER SOMALIA PHENOMENA The greater Somali phenomena emerged in the year 1956, when the Somali Trust Territory moved closer to possible unification. This move alarmed Ethiopia which feared the emergence of greater Somali authoritative influence in the Horn of Africa. Meanwhile, the British government expressed no objection to the two Somali territories uniting to form one nation. In response, the Ethiopian regime expressed its dissent and stepped up anti-British propaganda campaign in the press and over the radio. The central focus of concern for Ethiopia was the Somali settlements within their territory, Ogaden and the Haud, and the possibility of forfeiting all the territory occupied and used for grazing by the Somalis. By that time, the greater Somali idea had begun to attract international interest. The United States supported the British position. This encouraged the Ethiopian Emperor to seek support from the Soviet Union. The greater Somalia concept had Click here to view image developed deep roots and later in July, 1960 the two Somalia territories were united into one Republic. To thwart any speculations by the Ethiopian regime, the British clarified her position regarding the greater Somalia phenomena by reiterating that it was not going to support any claim affecting the integrity of French Somaliland, North Eastern Kenya or Ogaden and the Haud in Ethiopia. Any existing dispute was to be left to the parties concerned to resolve. When Jubaland was transferred to Italian Somaliland in 1925, North Eastern Kenya remained as a province of Kenya. It stretched from Lake Turkana (Rudolf) down to the South of Kolbio (Ref: Map 5). Within the then NFD were six districts Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit, and sub-district of Moyale. Presently, the two districts of Marsabit and Isiolo are in the Eastern Province while the rest of the districts are in the North Eastern Province. Although the two districts of Marsabit and Isiolo were predominantly occupied by the Boran-Galla tribes, there were small percentages of Somali immigrants in the area. Until 1963, when Kenya attained her independence, the North Eastern region had been isolated from the rest of Kenya by the British colonialist laws passed in 1902 and in 1934 which restricted the movement of all persons entering or leaving the district. Following the achievement of independence by both Kenya and Somalia, Kenya found it appropriate to encourage participation in the political arena by the Kenyan Somalis. As a result, political parties were formed such as the North Eastern Peoples Progressive Party (NPPP) and others. The political parties campaigned vigorously for secession, instead of joining hands with pro-Kenyan independence parties such as Kenya African National Union (KANU) and Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU). Following the continuing political pro-secessionist campaign, Britain found it necessary to establish an independent Commission to carry out a form of referendum to verify the desire of the people of the North Eastern region. The Commission composed of Mr G C M Onyiuke of Nigeria and Major General M P Borget, CBE, DSO, CD, of Canada started work on the 22nd of October, 1962. Meanwhile, pro-secessionist political party campaigning was picking up. A three point memorandum was prepared for the Commission with the following points: one, secession from Kenya forthwith; two, establishment of a legislative assembly, and three, independence and re-unification with the Somali Republic by an act of union. The commission was faced with two fundamental opinions from the Somali community in NFD, representing those who wanted to remain part of Kenya and those who were in favour of secession and the subsequent re-unification of NFD with the Somali Republic. Among the people of NFD were three distinct racial groups with conflicting opinions: the Somalis were who in favour of secession, the riverine tribes who favoured to be part and parcel of Kenya, and the Galla (Oromo) people who had mixed opinions. However, Wajir and Mandera, which were predominantly Somali occupied areas, were unanimously in favour of secession and union with Somalia. The Somalis at Moyale, Isiolo, and Marsabit, together with Muslim Boran, were also in favour of the union with Somalia. The non-Somali speaking people of the North, namely: the Rendille and the El Molo were in favour of secession while the non- Muslim Boran and Gabbra were against secession. Their preference was to remain part of Kenya. Incidentally, people from Moyale township, Isiolo township, and a small element of people from Garissa township had mixed feelings about seceding to Somalia. Following its investigation, the Commission concluded that the majority of the people of NFD favoured secession. This was based on the overall wishes of the predominant Somali-occupied districts of Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa. At this juncture, the most intriguing point noted by the Commissioners was that those Somalis wishing to secede required a limited, but continuous British rule while they prepared their own government in order to join Somalia as an established government body. The new dimension of "forming a government body" was precipitated by the fact that both Kenya and Somalia had attained Self government as a step toward independence during the referendum period. It was further exacerbated by the emergence of political parties in the region which appeared to enjoy a competitive atmosphere with other emerging parties. Finally, the Commission resolved that five out of six districts favoured the secession by a majority vote. These were Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Moyale, and Isiolo. The percentage in favour was calculated at well over 80% of the total population in the NFD. DEFENCE PACT WITH ETHIOPIA Having realized the expansionist ideological development of the Somalis in the region, Kenya and Ethiopia signed a Defence Pact in 1969. Both nations shared a common enemy, the Republic of Somalia. The purpose of the pact was to enhance a joint military effort in the region in the event of Somalia's attempt to invade any of the two nations. To date the pact is still in existence. THE SKIRMISHES Consequent to the escalation of the tension between Kenya and Somalia over NFD, the Kenya government mobilized her forces in readiness for the envisaged skirmishes. Kenya had only three infantry battalions (The 3rd Bn, the 5th Bn and the 1st Bn) and one Support Regiment. In addition, there were also three companies of para-military forces. Both the military and the para-military forces were mobilized. The expectation of the Somali regime was that upon the announcement of the constitution, the Kenyan government would not include the NFD in its constitutional arrangements. The Kenya Regional Boundaries Commission which had been formed in 1963 to verify and ratify regional boundaries had included the NFD as part of Kenya forming the seventh province. This matter was earlier discussed and agreed to at Lancaster House in London by both Kenya and the British Colonialists Office, prior to handing over self government to Kenya on the 1st of June, 1963. The creation of the seventh province, under the patronage of Kenya's new constitution was aimed at giving the Somali people from the region greater freedom in the management of their social and cultural affairs. Kenya attained her independence on 12 December, 1963 with the bilateral understanding that the matter would be resolved amicably between the affected parties. Incidentally, no major Click here to view image decisions were effected other than a few insignificant Inter- ministerial meetings, which yielded no permanent solution. Eventually, it was left in suspense and to this day no explicit solution has been mutually concluded by the affected parties. The Kenyatta regime maintained that NFD was part of Kenya by all legitimate rights and no further debate was encouraged. Having deployed Forces in all four corners of the district namely: Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, and Moyale, detachments were further deployed at Malka-Mari, Bute, Buna, and Gurar. Their main responsibility was to safeguard the Kenyan borders, maintain peace and order, and thwart any effort by the militant irredentist Somalis to incite the Kenyan Somalis to secede. The campaign was divided into three distinct phases: Phase I. 1963 - 1967. The main activity in this phase was consistent with lethal skirmishes which inflicted serious casualties and damage to the Kenyan troops in the region. Along with these skirmishes was the intensification of indoctrination and incitement of the Somalis against the local Kenyan security forces. The Shifta fighters operated in small groups of 20 to 100, divided into pockets and raiding squads of 15 to 45. They engaged in ambushes, mining activity, and destruction of equipment using bazookas. After a vigorous joint effort by the Kenyan military and the para-military forces, the Somali Irredentist (Shifta) fighters were defeated. The shifta's inherent problems, which contributed to Kenya's success, was their long lines of communication aggravated by their inability to resupply their fighting forces with ammunition and arms. They were forced to withdraw back to Somalia in order to reorganize, replenish, and regroup with a view to striking again. The forward operational bases of the Irredentist were Dolo, lugh Gonana, Baydhabo, and Baidoa. Since there were no indicators of total peace in the area, the Kenyan forces remained in position awaiting the possible re-launching of the irredentist activity. Phase II. 1967-1977: During this period the situation was partially calm. There were very few skirmishes. However, the irredentists continued to inflict casualties and losses on the Kenya security forces. The Kenyan Defence Forces seized this opportunity to recruit, train, and refit their forces, to include formulating counter strategies. Phase III: (The Ogaden War) General Siad Barre's regime decided on a multi_strategic technic. He approached the liberation of the Somali people using the strategy of first securing the Ogaden and the Haud in Ethiopia and then to switch forces southward into NFD. Ethiopia was busy, at the time, fighting the Eritrean and Tigrean secessionists in Northern Ethiopia. It was therefore relatively easy for the Somali liberation forces to march to Jijiga, Dire Dawa, and Harar with little or no resistance. During this phase, the irredentists mounted precise, lethal, accurate, and damaging attacks. The strategy was to maintain contact with the Kenyan Defence Forces while preparing a major offensive. The main activity was centered on mining roads and ambushing Kenyan convoys. Throughout the period covering the three phases, a number of Somali-speaking officers and men defected from Kenya Defence Forces to Somalia in of support of the Irredentist movement and ideology. Incidentally, in the late 1980s and early 1990s Kenya started experiencing the phenomenon of the same officers and men who had defected earlier now coming back. Well over three quarter of those who defected have returned so far. A majority of the defecters were interrogated and released to their villages to start up life again as good citizens of Kenya. THE CONFLICT In the initial stages of the campaign, Kenya's young government did not have the necessary infrastructure and manpower to suppress the insurgency. They were not tactically prepared for low intensity conflict. The command structure and particularly the top military cadre was composed of the remnants of the British officer corps, whose level of patriotism and commitment to the conflict was below par. The immediate replacement of some of the top command element improved the situation significantly. The elderly and experienced platoon commanders who had been elevated from warrant officer platoon commander to fully-fledged officers led men into triumphant battles against the scattered pro-secessionist fighting forces. The major difficulties facing the Kenyan troops were centered on lack of adequate and accurate intelligence, weather and terrain constraints, and lack of adequate geographical knowledge about the vast semi-arid NFD. The temperatures during the day were sometimes unbearable and made it almost impossible to operate in. During rainy seasons, road mobility almost brought road transportation to a complete stand still. The unavailability of updated maps, as well as the partial inability to read and interpret them, added to the existing difficulties. Lack of local support, insofar as intelligence and the lack of understanding of the insurgents tactics, made the entire operation untenable and excruciating. Kenyan forces experienced their hardest time ever since the end of the Second World War. The Somalis irredentist (Shifta) were more shrewd in their tactics and approach throughout the period. They had the advantage of local support from the people and the ability to adapt to the environment. They had sufficient geographical knowledge about the area and did not experience any problems with the climate, since they all grew up in the same climatic areas. Their convoy discipline and procedures were scrupulous and impeccable. Convoys of logistic camels would move in tactical waves. Wave number one would be composed of scouts, followed by the deception party of a well armed squad, then a small element as an early warning squad moving in column of route, and finally the main body followed with armed guards on the flanks. The basic composition of the convoys would be either exclusively logistics or both logistics and families. Any engagement would be met ferociously with the beating of tins by the families while the main fighting elements were either engaging from the rear or enveloping. All these activities were concurrent and were intended to confuse the Kenyan forces into committing troops wrongly or forcing them into total disarray while the main force was moving away from the scene as fast as possible. During extremely difficult situations, they would use the rear guard to engage the Kenyan forces while their main force was disengaging from the main battle ground. They never engaged in decisive battles, but instead preferred to hit hard, inflict heavy casualties, and retreat into thick bushes. Their main focus of effort was the capture of heavy weapons, and the destruction of trucks, as well as amoured fighting vehicles, using mainly bazookas. The Movement of logistics and families was confined to evenings, moonlit nights, and pre-dawn hours. Based on their intelligence, they had learned the habits of the Kenyan fighting forces. Kenyan forces confined operational activities to 8.00 A.M through 5.00 P.M in the afternoon. The Kenyan troops never operated at night other than conducting limited ambush activities at specific areas reported to be the main irredentist routes. Click here to view image In most cases, the ambushes were laid near bore holes where they would bring their camels to drink water at night. This created enormous problems for the Kenyan troops because there was no distinct difference between the Shiftas and the indigenous people from the region. However, this problem was eventually overcome through liaison and coordination with loyal administrative personnel from the region. The main weapons carried by these secessionist forces were the AK 47 rifle, the G3 Heckler and Koch, the AK 47 machine gun, and bazookas. Other weapons were old Second World War rifles such as the Mark 3 and Mark 4. The bazookas were mainly used to immobilize the trucks while the machine guns were used for fire suppression. At later stages in the campaign, they began using three-fused, high explosive anti-tank mines made in Italy. There were two different types of mines, one with three fuses, and the other with four fuses. These mines were mainly obtained from the Italians sympathizing with secession and from the Arab world. The Somali irredentist fighters also obtained assault weapons from Arab nations and Eastern European countries such as Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Soviet Union. The mines devastated the Kenyan transport assets, thus forcing them to change the mode of operation from mounted troops to cross country-foot operations. This had a tremendous drawback on the overall fighting effectiveness, the motivation, and in the general morale of the troops. The shortage of vehicles and breakdowns, exacerbated by bad weather conditions, together with the anti-tank mine dilemma made it almost impossible for operations to be conducted deep in enemy areas. The Somali irredentists would never attack without adequate intelligence. Initial effort was geared to the gathering of sufficient intelligence from sympathetic locals at least one week in advance. The same locals were also used to carry out a disinformation activity aimed at misleading the Kenyan forces regarding their intentions and their disposition. Sometimes they would use their agents to lead Kenyan forces into a pre-planned ambush areas. Occasionally, they planned raids in shopping centers to try and obtain food for their troops. This development contributed to another dimension of serious animosity between the secessionist fighters and the local people who manifestly supported them. Subsequently, support slowly shifted from total support of the secessionist activity to supporting Kenyan troops. The secessionist fighters would not break or steal from shops of fellow Somalis but mainly the Boran and the Gurreh's shops. These two communities were not considered as Somalis though the Gurrehs spoke both languages, Boran and Somali. THE OGADEN WAR The changing of the guard in Somalia, after the assassination of the Prime Minister, Dr Abdi Rashid Ali Shermarke, saw Major General Siad Barre established in power. This brought about a new dimensional approach to this regional conflict. President Siad Barre adopted a more pragmatic approach in contrast to the late Prime Minister who had been more flagrant about supporting of the secessionist movement in both Ethiopia and Kenya. Being a military professional, Gen Siad Barre decided to approach the situation piece-meal. First and foremost, he made friends with Kenya in an effort to paint a deceptive scenario that there was no more secessionist ideology and that there would be no more skirmishes. Essentially, this new image existed practically only on paper. Limited, but lethal, skirmishes continued with a serious impact on the Kenyan Defence Forces in the NFD. Behind the scenes, President Siad Barre was planning a strategy of forcefully securing the lost land and people in both Kenya and Ethiopia, using military power. Thanks to his increasingly close ties with the Soviet Union who enabled him acquire substantial military arsernals. In the meantime, Siad Barre regime continued to promote insurgent movements in both Ethiopia and Kenya. He provided them with both moral and material support. Following Ethiopian coup which toppled Haile Selassie and brought Mengistus military government to power, Somalia thought it an opportune time to attempt to recover the lost territory as a phase towards total recovery of all Somali inhabited territory. As a deception plan, Siad Barre continued to seek a negotiated settlement of the Ogaden and NFD disputes with the Mengistu and Kenyatta regimes, while planning for a full scale offensive operation to recover the territories. An organization calling itself the Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF) had already been formed. Along with this organization was another smaller organization calling itself Somali-Abo Liberation Front (SALF). Using these two liberation fronts, Siad Barre found it easy to launch an offensive into Ogaden. He infiltrated his army into the WSLF militia front and initiated the war. Negotiations were only being used to buy time as a deception to ensure the Mengistu regime would not pre-empt the offensive plans underway. The first objective was the vast open grazing land between the town of Jijiga and the undemarcated Southern boundary between Ethiopia and Somalia. The offensive was fast and easy since the only resistance was from a small element of police and military personnel. By August, 1977 Somalia National Army had captured all the ground inhabited by Somali-speaking people in Ethiopia. Gen Siad Barre's strategy was to initiate negotiations from a captured ground. Subsequent to the ongoing events, Mengistu appealed to Moscow for military assistance in form of equipment and technical manpower. The Soviets responded massively with the Cubans in support. 11,000 Cubans and 1500 Soviet advisers arrived in Ethiopia. In response, Gen. Siad Barre expelled all the Soviets from Somalia and repealed the friendship treaty with the USSR in retaliation for the support given to Mengistu's regime. Early February, 1978 the Soviet advisers, together with Ethiopian forces, launched a counteroffensive. A two-staged counterattack was launched from East and North, bypassing the dug in Somali forces at Jijiga and attacking from the rear and the flank with one force supporting the attack while the heavy tank and helicopter gunships provided the main thrust. The Somalis lost the war miserably simply because they did not have any support from any other nation soon after they were abandoned by the Soviets. The war end on March 9, 1978 with Somalia suffering an overwhelming loss of equipment and defeat. A third of the Somali army (over 8,000 men) had been lost in the undeclared war. Three quarters of the Somalia's mechanized and tank force had been lost in the war. Nearly a half of the aircraft were destroyed or were non-operational due to lack of spare parts after the severing of the relationship with the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, the Western Somali Liberation Front and Somali-Abo Liberation Front resumed their guerilla activities in the region despite the disastrous loss of the Ogaden war. The Ogaden war was to mark the beginning of a major offensive campaign into Kenya to secure the NFD and the Somali speaking people. Notably, there were other phases aimed at recovering the land and the Somali speaking people in the Former French Somaliland (Now Djibouti). However, this plan had to be abandoned indefinitely following the Ogaden war disaster. Ironically, Gen Siad Barre's initial strategy to use military force secure the Haud and Ogaden during phase I, and then the NFD as phase II became explicitly infeasible. The dramatic twist of events which culminated in an awesome defeat of the Somali troops left the Siad Barre regime in total disarray. The morale of the troops plummeted especially with the massive losses. It would take Somalia many years of recuperating before it could revisit the issue again. The war had a serious negative impact on the Somalia's socio-political and economic status. LESSONS LEARNED The Kenyan Defence Forces learned several lessons following the conflict with the Somali Irredentist fighters. The following is an elaborated outline of the lessons learned: - Knowledgeability: The Kenyan Forces did not have adequate knowledge about the people they were fighting. They did not understand the enemy's habits, culture, and traditions. They were operating in a completely strange territory. Also, the Kenyan Forces did not have adequate terrain and geographic information about the area. They were fighting an enemy on its own terrain. The need to have substantial socio-economic knowledge about the enemy and the terrain is very important in any warfare and more emphatically low imtensity conflict. -Intelligence: Lack of local support made it extremely difficult for the Kenyan Forces to operate in the area. There was complete lack of intelligence on enemy activity, enemy order of battle, and enemy disposition. Human intelligence proved counter productive because most of the sources were compromised agents of the enemy or double-dealing opportunist informers. They proved totally unreliable. The Kenyan Defence Forces ended up developing their own collection assets including employing the same agents on disinformation activities intended to mislead and to enhance deception. The need to have adequate intelligence about the enemy prior to initiating any operational activity is of paramount importance. Tactics and Logistics: Low intensity conflict was a new form of warfare to the Kenyan Forces. Therefore it was extremely difficult in the initial stages for the Kenyan Forces to cope with the situation. The terrain and weather constraints worsened the situation. Logistic sustainability and survivability in an area where road communication was rare, created another big problem. The Kenyan Forces could not live off the land since the local populace were hostile. There were no lines of communication for resupply of the food to the jungle camps and worse still there were no helicopters to heli-drop the supplies. The only option was to use human and animal transport to carry ammunition and food to the camps. Logistics is war and war is logistics. Without logistics, tactics and strategy will have little impact on the success of any operation. Above all is mobility. Without mobility to facilitate transportation of logistics and manpower resources in battle is futile. Training: The troops were not exposed to low intensity conflict warfare; therefore additional training was required to get them to fight effectively in the jungle. There is always a need to train hard on all types of warfare in peacetime to be able to fight easily in times of war. The Kenyan military focus of training at that time was conventional tactics mainly and very little training on unconventional ones. Strategy: There was no overriding strategy to counter the low intensity conflict warfare since it was new to the Kenyan Forces. The Kenyan approach was conventional while the insurgent was unconventional using hit and run strategy. Attack unexpectedly from uexpected direction and time; inflict heavy casualty and diasppear into the thin air. Speed and accuracy is the key factor in this circumstance. It is important to formulate strategy prior to undertaking any complex maneuver such as low intensity conflict. This can only be achieved by learning and analyzing the enemy's habits and methodology of conducting operations in order to formulate a counter strategy. CONCLUSION Late 1975 through to 1978/79, the situation in Kenya had improved drastically. The level of skirmishes had diminished considerably, though there were minor clashes with Somali National Army logistic convoys withdrawing from the war front in Ethiopia. Following this trend, Kenyan troops remained in their respective locations keeping watch as usual. Their intelligence techniques which included interrogation to establish the shifta future plans had improved with time. The resettlement of the local population and control mechanisms had also achieved a great deal of success. On the socio-economic and political dimension, Kenya was developing rapidly, given the worthwhile leadership of the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and the current President Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi. The socio-economic infrastructure had greatly improved in the NFD. Unlike the colonial era, the Somali community in the region were enjoying equal treatment and opportunities like everybody else everywhere in Kenya. The old mentality of secession had diminished from the minds of the Somali-speaking people of NFD. The government of Kenya had carried out a carefully tailored psychological, social, and economic pacification program focused on the daily human domestic necessities and amenities such as food, hospitals, schools, communications, and electricity. By contrast, the socio-political and economic situation in Somalia had taken a nose dive following the aftermath of the Ogaden War. The Kenyan Somalis were enjoying the greatest privileges compared to fellow Somalis in Somalia. It reached a culminating point where they openly conceded that they were not interested in seceding to join Somalia or becoming part of Somalia whatsoever. They were politically, economically, and sociologically enjoying the same status as everybody else unlike during the past era when they were segregated and treated like aliens. The issue regarding secession is now treated negatively whenever it is discussed in public. Such discussions would not be entertained by the majority of the Kenyan Somali people in the country and particularly in the NFD. The disintegration of the socio-political and economic situation in Somalia added up to this positive demonstration. Over the period between 1980 and 1990, there has been an isolated element of armed bandits still existing in the area. Additionally, there has also been a lot of hungry renegade Somali army soldiers crossing into Kenya in search of greener pastures for survival. This has required the Kenya government authorities continue deploying troops in the area in order to insure tranquility prevailed and that people are able to go about their business peacefully. The improvement of fighting skills and abundant sophisticated fighting resources has enabled the Kenyan Forces to effectively combat the secessionists. On the other hand, lack of local support has further made it extremely difficult for the secessionist remnants to sustain or live off the land as was the case in the early 1960 and 1970. These days, anybody in possession of a weapon or acting strangely would be reported swiftly to the administration or arrested and handed over to the security forces by the loyal population. The greater Somali concept of the unification of all Somalis still exists. The five point star in the Somali national flag representing the five Somali inhabited regions consisting of former British Somaliland, the former Italian Somaliland, the NFD, the Ogaden, and Djibouti has not been changed. Moreover, Somalia has not publicly renounced her claim over the frontier in the Horn of Africa. These frontiers constitute a total area of 374,200 square miles. As provided in the United Nations charter, Somalia is a distinct nation entitled to a separate existence and to rights and duties similar to those of other nations in the world. This statement presupposes that the idealogy of the unification of the entire Somali community remains firm and unresolved to date. The Colonial scramble to dominate and influence in the Horn of Africa involved three countries namely British, Italy and France. The aftermath of this scramble is what we see presently as boundary disputes in the region. It is the root cause of these problems. African frontier problems such as this particular case are a product inherited from colonial days. The colonialist artificially demarcated frontiers without regard to tribal alignments. They displayed no respect for ethnic, cultural and socio-economic background of the indigenous people. The future of this legend remains in the hands of our leaders and the people of the land. The continuing peace in the region will undoubtedly guarantee lasting socio-economic development and stability. An Improved situation in Somalia will further increase the assurance of peace since many have learned from the past and would not endeavor to venture into unnecessary warlike activities which would result in the massive loss of life and property. Lastly, the three countries namely, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti, should strive to resolve this issue through arbitration by both the Organization of African Unity and United Nation Organization. BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Harold, Nelson D. Somalia, a country study: III. Series. Washington D.C: American University. Government Printing Office, 1982. PP. 346. (Chap. 1, 2, and 4.) 2. Drysdale, John. The Somali Dispute. 64 University Place, New York 3, N.Y., U.S.A. Frederick A Praeger, Inc., Publisher, 1964. Pall Mall Press Ltd., London and Dunmow. 1964. PP.183. (P 33-39, P 122-129, and P 40 - 44. [Maps: 1, 2, and 3]) 3. Touval, Saadia. Somali Nationalism. International Politics and the Drive for Unity in the Horn of Africa. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1963. II. American University (Washington D.C.) PP 214. (P. 16-25, P. 109-112, P. 147-153, and P. 23-29 [ Clan Chart: 1]) GLOSSARY I. SHIFTA. - The name referred to bandits or guerrilla fighters by the Kenyan Defence Forces. II. IRREDENTIST. - Ideological ehtno-centric vis a vis political fighters who formed up in the HAUD and Ogaden in Ethiopia and Northern Frontier District in Kenya in 1956. Their purpose of fighting was for a unified Somali community in the region. The ideology is still outstanding. III. SOMALI. The race or The person or the people of Somalia or Somali speaking people. It also means the language spoken by the people of Somalia. IV. SOMALIA. The Republic, the country or the Nation of the Somali people. V. NPPPP. Northern Province Peoples Progressive Party. One of the first pro-secessionist parties to be formed in the Northern Frontier Province. VI. KANU. Kenya African National Union. The first indigenous Kenyan political party. VII. WSALF. Western Somali-Abo Liberation Front: An indigenous irredentist fighting element. VIII. WSLF. Western Somali Liberation Front: The main Irredentist fighting component which spearheaded the Ogaden War. IX. NFD. Northern Frontier District: All that portion of Kenya stretching from Lake Rodolf/ Turkana through Isiolo to South of Garissa. (Ref: Map 5) X. KADU. Kenya African Democratic Union. The first political party to be formed in Kenya along KANU. Later it was dissolved when they formed a merger with KANU. XI. The Haud. The Southern plateau region south of Hargeisa which adjoins the Ogaden and Harar in Ethiopia. It covers an approximate area of 25,000 square miles. It is mainly occupied by the Somali people from early 17th century.
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