Kenya has purchased an unmanned aircraft popularly known as a drone to help in the fight against terrorism.
The purchase of the drone at Sh1 billion from the United States, was revealed by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in a report released earlier this week.
The arsenal, which is the first of its kind in the country, comes less than a month after the country received Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) that will be used by the National Police Service to fight organised crime in the country.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has also announced that two MI-17 Helicopter troop carriers have been taken in for complete overhaul, while a new helicopter has been bought, and would be arriving in the country in the next few weeks.
“By June this year, we shall have two new helicopters, and three refurbished units brought back to near-new condition. This will sharply improve our ability to quickly move troops to any trouble spot,” Mr Kenyatta said.
Recently, a total of 2,220 assorted vehicles have been provided through a lease arrangement which the President said, has more than doubled police visibility on the ground.
SIPRI Military Expenditure Programmes Director Samuel Perlo-Freeman said that the unmanned aircraft, ScanEagle, was ordered by the Kenyan Government at a cost of $9.86 million.
Kenya’s Business Daily reported on Thursday that the pilotless aircraft is intended to enable Kenyan security organs to conduct real-time surveillance on Somalia-based Al-Shabaab terrorists alongside other major crime scenes inside Kenya’s borders.
The country is still reeling in shock following the attack on El-Adde military camp in which an unspecified number of soldiers were killed on January 15. President Uhuru Kenyatta promptly declared that Al-Shabaab would pay for the attack.
The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) has remained tight lipped over the number of soldiers that were killed, even as Somalia’s President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told a Somali television station on Wednesday that between 180 and 200 soldiers died.
It is presumed that KDF will deploy the drone in neighbouring Somalia to help in the ongoing war against terrorism.