Garissa(Mogadishu24)-In a powerful address at Garissa University’s fourth graduation ceremony, Kenya’s Minister of Defense, Aden Barre Duale delivered a stern message to the militant group Al-Shabaab. With unwavering determination, he vowed to confront and defeat the Al-Shabaab militants responsible for numerous attacks in Northeastern Kenya.

Addressing the audience, Minister Duale’s words resonated with resolve and urgency. He directly addressed the Al-Shabaab leader in Jilib, stating, “Tell that Commander of Al-Shabaab who is in Jilib to look at me. I told him then that the pen is mightier than the gun. And today, this is a testimony that the pen is mightier than the gun; that Garissa University has recovered from the terror attack.”

Refusing to let the scars of past tragedies define the region, Minister Duale highlighted the remarkable progress of Garissa University.

“The university you wanted to close and divide the people of Kenya along ethnic and religious lines, the university where you butchered our children, today is not only the best university in the country but has one of the best faculties; the Institute of Peace and Security Studies,” he emphatically stated.

With an unyielding determination to protect the nation and its citizens, Minister Duale assumed his role as the Defense Minister of the Republic of Kenya and issued a direct warning against Al-Shabaab.
“We are coming for you, Al-Shabaab! We will use our land forces, we will use our navy, we will use our Air force, and we will use our special forces to hunt you down both in Kenya and inside Somalia,” Duale warned.

The Defense Minister further expressed the urgent need for development and security in the region.
“We want the road from Mandera to be constructed, the Lapset road from Lamu to Isiolo to be constructed. We want our children to go to school like the children of other Kenyans. We don’t want this border to be the reason why other Kenyans in Nairobi and Mombasa are killed because of Al-Shabaab,” he added.

In a show of unity and collaboration, Minister Duale highlighted the joint efforts with the Somali government and international allies to eliminate the threat of Al-Shabaab.
“We have agreed with the government in Somalia under President Hassan Sheikh, we have agreed with our partners and our allies who have troops in Somalia that together we will finish Al-Shabaab,” he stated.

Recognizing the need for an integrated approach, Minister Duale urged the citizens to remain vigilant and take an active role in thwarting the activities of Al-Shabaab. He warned against aiding the terrorists in any way and encouraged cooperation with the security agencies.
“And if you are part of Al-Shabaab or you communicate with them, the moment you disconnect that call, we are with you. So we will listen to everyone who would dare to talk to Al-Shabaab. If you are a motorist, you shouldn’t facilitate the transportation of food items for Al-Shabaab. Even the woman selling miraa, once you hear about Al-Shabaab, please tell the security agencies,” the minister urged.

Furthermore, he reiterated the government’s commitment to peace and security in Northeastern Kenya. “We will not allow Al-Shabaab killing and destroying our country and our region. We want peace in the universities, schools, and everywhere in Northeastern,” he stated firmly.

In April 2, 2015, Al-Shabaab launched a devastating attack on Garissa University, resulting in the tragic loss of 148 students and leaving 79 others injured. The ruthless act of terrorism sent shockwaves through the nation. However, despite the immense tragedy, Garissa University has shown remarkable resilience and determination to rebuild and move forward. Since the attack, the university has successfully held four graduation ceremonies, a testament to the indomitable spirit of its students and staff.

The attacks by Al-Shabaab on learning institutions in Northeastern Kenya have had far-reaching consequences. The relentless acts of violence have disrupted the education system, causing a halt in learning and creating a scarcity of teachers in the region. The fear instilled by these attacks has hindered the pursuit of knowledge and robbed young minds of the opportunities they deserve.

Remarks By Kenya’s Defense Minister, Barre came as he was attending the fourth graduation ceremony of Garissa on June 22, 2023

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