By Pascal Kwesiga
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has reaffirmed that the Somali based Al-Shabaab terrorist group has been vanquished, and that the Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists can no longer stage attacks on military installations and troops under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Addressing Kenyans during the Madaraka (self-rule) Day Celebrations at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on Monday, Museveni said he issued a press statement in the wake of the April 2 attack on Garrisa University in Kenya by the Al-shabaab terrorists, explaining how the terrorists have resorted to attacking soft targets after being defeated.
A total of 147 students perished in the attack, hardly two years after the September 2013 attack at Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi in which 67 people died.
Museveni, who was speaking in Kiswahili, said the terrorist group would be launching attacks on military facilities and soldiers in ambushes if it was still powerful.
"In military warfare, if you are powerful, you attack the enemy positions or soldiers in ambushes. There, we can say you are powerful. But, if you cannot do either of the two, then you are defeated," he added.
If the Al-Shabaab were wise, the president said, they should have called for dialogue to resolve the conflict peacefully.
"But, if you are stupid like the Al-Shabaab, instead of attacking soldiers, you attack civilians. In Uganda, they (terrorists) attacked people who were celebrating in a night club. These are people were celebrating and some were drunk. What did they have to do with politics?" he asked.
Over 70 soccer fans were killed in twin bombs at Kyandondo Rugby Club and Ethiopian village restaurant in Kampala in 2010.
The Al-Shabaab, which claimed responsibility for the attacks, said the twin suicide bombings were carried out in retaliation for Uganda's deployment of peacekeepers in Somalia. Uganda deployed peace keepers in 2007, a year after AU passed a resolution creating AMISOM in 2006.
Museveni, who delivered his condolence message to the families that lost 'children' in the Garrisa attack, said he issued a press statement in the aftermath of the assault because he is convinced Al-Shabaab is 'finished'.
"When we went to Somalia, they (Al-Shabaab) used to attack us (soldiers). They can no longer attack us now," he added.
Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, noted that the region faces a new threat of religious extremism that has exposed the youth to radicalization.
He explained that his government has crafted a de-radicalization program and urged various stakeholders such as parents, the civil society and religious leaders to support it.
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Al-Shabaab defeated, Museveni reaffirms