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Family agonizes over slain KDF soldier

When Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldier Eric Lang’at bade his wife goodbye a month ago he promised to return home and complete the construction of the family house.

That turned out to be the last time his family would see him alive. Mr. Lang’at, 28, was among the KDF officers who were killed by suspected Al Shabaab militia who attacked Kiunga KDF camp in Lamu on Sunday in an incident that left 16 of the assailants dead.

The deceased’s wife, Betty, says the loss of her husband is painful taking into account that they had big plans as a family.

“My husband was the family’s sole bread winner, now I don’t know where to start from. My loving husband was good to everybody,” the widow, a mother of one told the Daily Nation.

“I was waiting for my husband to celebrate the birthday of our one-year old first born son but had it that he was to die on the day I expected him home.”

When the Daily Nation visited the family at their rural home in Konoin constituency, the deceased’s father and retired teacher Mr. Andrew Rono was still coming to terms with the death of his fourth son.

IN THE LINE OF DUTY

“Why did this have to happen to my family and especially to a young and energetic man who had not even enjoyed his time in the forces,” Mr. Rono posed.

However, Mr. Rono, says much as he had lost his son, the family is happy that he died in the line of duty while protecting Kenyans from Al Shabaab militants.

Soldiers-house
Eric Lang’at’s father Mr. Andrew Rono points at his late son’s house which is under construction.

“I have forgiven the killers of my son but I urge the government to pursue Al Shabaab insurgents to the hilt so as to save more loss of human lives,” he stated.

“The last time my son was home, I remember vividly that he had good plans for his young family and went to an extent of asking me to show him a portion of land within my farm that he could plant tea to sustain his family,” Mr. Rono reminisced.

“My son had served the country with dedication for one year and was destined for a successful career in the forces.

“It is as if my son had a premonition because while always asked us to keep praying for him so that God could protect him as he served the nation.”

Lang’at’s older brother, Geoffrey Ng’eno, recalled how the deceased called him when he arrived in Lamu asking him to pray for him.