KENYA REMAINS UNBOWED AND IS NOW EMBOLDENED IN THE FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM

Distinguished Cabinet Colleagues, Dr. Fred Matiangi & Hon. Najib Balala

Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners;

Members of the Diplomatic Corps;

Colleagues from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;

Good morning and Best wishes for the New Year;

 

  1. I thank you all for honouring our invitation for this briefing despite the short notice. This unfortunate briefing comes in the wake of the heinous and cowardly terror attack against innocent civilians in Dusit D2 complex in Nairobi, on the afternoon of Tuesday, 15 January 2019. May I therefore ask that we all observe a Minute of silence in honour of the innocent lives lost during the criminal act.

 

  1. As you may have noted, I am accompanied this morning by my colleagues, who are well known to yourselves, Dr. Fred Matiang’i, Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government, and Hon. Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, whom I will shortly invite to address you on matters concerning their dockets.

 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. The last Diplomatic briefing held on 11th December 2018 was designed to provide an overview of the progress-made during the year 2018 and to wish each of us an enjoyable and restful Christmas and festive season. It is now my hope that we have ushered the New Year having been fully rejuvenated and ready to embark on our core task of strengthening our collaboration at bilateral and multilateral levels for the mutual benefit of our peoples. I had hoped that in keeping with our commitment for routine briefings, I would have this briefing later in the month to outline the direction we would be taking as a country in collaboration with each of your countries.

 

  1. I have always emphasized in each of my briefings the threats we face as members of the global family, the volatility of our region and the complexity and intricacies around the Horn of Africa. The events that daily unfold underscore the need for all of us to intensify our efforts to combat terrorism wherever it manifests and in all its forms. I therefore wish to take this opportunity to register the sincere and heartfelt appreciation of the people and the Government of the Republic of to all your friendly Governments, particularly those that are working and standing with us to keep our country, the region and the rest of the world safe from the scourge of International terrorism.

 

  1. Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On Tuesday 15th January, 2019 at around 3.30 pm, our security agencies responded swiftly to reports of a terrorist attack. Having arrived at the scene within minutes, our Special Forces took effective control and launched a professional, well-calibrated and coordinated operation. 18 hours later, all the terrorists had successfully been neutralized. On the morning of January 16, 2019, His Excellency President, Uhuru Kenyatta addressed the nation and announced the successful conclusion of the operation. His Excellency the President assured the Kenyan people and all people within Kenyan territory of their security. He thanked the international community for their continued partnership in combating trans-national crime, especially terrorism. He also reaffirmed Kenya’s firm commitment to continue enjoying our way of life and our undying resolve to the fight terrorism in all its forms.  His Excellency also exhorted our nation and friends to remain eternally vigilant. (A copy of President Kenyatta’s statement is available for circulation).

 

  1. During the operation, security services evacuated close to 1000 civilians from the complex. Sadly, by the end of the operation in the morning of 16th January, 14 innocent lives had been lost. Sadly, the follow-up operations found another 7 bodies, bringing the total to 21. However, by the end of the operation, the five terrorists had been killed, while 18 civilians were injured and are in hospital. CS Matiang’i will speak more on this.

 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. Characteristic of our Kenyan society, we witnessed immense and remarkable sense of brotherhood and patriotism throughout out this period. All Kenyans came out to condemn the attack, while others went out to assist in the rescue operation, including with bare hands, despite the lucking danger, because they were driven by their patriotic spirit as if to say an attack against one is an attack against all of us. The police and other security agencies had a difficult time keeping them at bay. We all saw licensed gun holders holding fort, fighting alongside our specialized units, people bringing in food, water, blankets, strangers sending airtime and bundles to the trapped to keep communication alive. Cab hailing mobile applications, such as Uber offering free rides to blood donation centers, hospitals opening their facilities to receive and attend to the injured, immeasurable blood donation until some centers could receive no more, families and friends keeping vigil, and so much more. This is what Kenya’s fabric is and the citizens have repeatedly demonstrated this whenever tragedy visits.

 

 

  1. These acts of valour, courage and compassion were complemented by the international community. Many of you stayed in touch with us throughout this period. We have received many messages of solidarity and support from across the world; all condemning the attack and offering condolences to the bereaved; including from the UN Secretary- General, the African Union, the G77 and China, individual countries, leaders and individuals These messages of encouragement and support confirm the value of international cooperation, and reaffirm our commitment to the same.

 

  1. They are a demonstration of humanity and resolve from across the international community to strengthen counter terrorism efforts and cooperation with Kenya as well as numerous pledges, in various formations, to track and bring to justice all those who may have played a role in the execution of the attack. Kenya remains unbowed and will play her part in support of stronger international cooperation and efforts to detect, deter, disrupt and defeat all forms of terrorism.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. Kenya remains united and resilient. The business community has not been shaken. Instead, we are receiving very encouraging responses and news from the bourse that the Nairobi Stock Exchange gained Ksh.19 billion in a day.

 

  1. The reprehensible act will not change our way of life. On the contrary, it has and will continue to strengthen our resolve to strengthen our institutions and to promote regional security and global peace. As stated by H.E. President Kenyatta, normalcy has resumed, people are back to their businesses even as operations continue. Around the area of attack, consultations and deep reflections will continue aware of the pain endured by the many families caught-up in the tragedy.

 

  1. At this juncture, let me pay special tribute to the media houses and practitioners for their professionalism during this sensitive time and for remaining true to the calling, that is to inform and educate.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. While this attack on the Dusit Complex was on the Kenyan territory, it was targeted at the world. The complex hosts a range international establishments and interests. The attack is a clear reminder that the terrorist objective to change the way of life of other societies is alive. It is a reminder that no country is immune to international terrorism.

 

  1. We sincerely extend our gratitude to each and every country for your demonstrated support during this time. Our friendship is a strong message to the terrorists that an attack against one is an attack against all of us and that there is exists no opportunity to draw a wedge between us. I thank all who have received our envoys at short notice to deliver a message on the incident, we appreciate this and look forward to strengthening our relations at both bilateral and multilateral levels.

 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. Before I invite my colleagues to address you, let me reiterate that Kenya, like the rest of the world is working for the prosperity, safety and peace of her citizens. His Excellency the President continues to urge not only Kenyans but also our friends to actively engage with Kenya to further our collaboration which should provide Kenya and all of us the requisite opportunities and benefits of the Big Four Agenda.

 

 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. In her continuing efforts to deal with the challenges of health care for all Kenyans, Her Excellency the First Lady will shortly host the Beyond Zero Half Marathon in Nairobi on 10th March 2019. Her Excellency the First Lady has extended a very warm invitation to all Heads of Diplomatic Mission and their families based in Nairobi to participate in the Marathon cognisant and grateful for your continued support to the Beyond Zero Programme. The theme ‘Run for Each Other’ resonates well with our overwhelming resilience. I therefore look forward to your active participation and support as well as your continued support towards this noble cause. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will provide details in writing on the registration procedures through the usual diplomatic channels.

 

  1. Thank you for your attention.

 

  1. May I now invite my Colleague, Fred Matiangi, and Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government to address us.

 

MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

JANUARY 2019