Oct 23, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Soldier lost legs in Somalia raid but is ready to serve country again

Although the attack cost him both legs and interrupted his famous career in the Kenyan Armed Forces (KDF), Major Alex Hinga says that nothing can stop him from serving his country. < / p>

He led a platoon of 39 soldiers during a routine patrol on the supply route between Kolbio and Badaade, 40 kilometers from the border between the two countries, when his infantry fighting vehicle (APC) was one of them Hit explosives.

Even after his legs were shattered by the impact that lifted the 15-ton APC about two meters high, Maj Hinga coordinated the fending off and encouraged other soldiers to do so To fight Al-Shabaab for more than four hours before reinforcements arrive.

The platoon commander tells how he got angry at himself for being the first to do this Ambush injures and endangers his team.

Al-Shabaab fighters carried out ambushes on the route through a dense forest and the fact that KDF convoys had to use them.

” It was almost a guarantee that a KDF convoy would be on Al-Shabaab. would meet on this street. We had a lot of routine patrols on the route before and nothing seemed unusual, “said Maj Hinga.

” We woke up early for a routine patrol to ambush one that day , but it shouldn’t be, ”said Maj Hinga.

Convoy under attack

Had he peeked seconds ago out of the attack as intended, he would probably have been shot.

While hesitating, the convoy was attacked.

The driver instinctively ordered his driver to turn around and offer support fire to the vehicles behind.

But as when that happened, the APC was hit by an improvised explosive device.

Maj Hinga remembers noticing that he couldn’t feel his legs.

“When we reached our goal, about 10 As we approached kilometers from Badaadhe, we noticed unusual activity in the settlement. People got up unusually early, “he said.

” We suddenly came under fire from rocket propulsion grenades (RPG) and the APC stalled. When I told the driver to turn back, we hit the explosives. My legs were mutilated and the pain was excruciating. The rest of the team noticed that we were hit and came to our rescue, but they were also attacked. “

Maj Hinga was in the destroyed APC and commanded his platoon in spite of it the pain. The painkillers he was taking didn’t seem to work.

A Somalia National Army gunner on a tech vehicle just behind the APC was killed by the RPG fire. < / p>

The APC driver put the platoon commander’s legs on his seat and turned to attack the attackers, occasionally checking on his superior.

Mission Ready Philosophy

Maj Hinga attributes his survival to KDF’s Mission Ready philosophy, which encourages soldiers to do so , prepared, programmed and ready to do their core tasks in combat.

The broken radio was what the driver used to put a cast on his legs who temporarily stopped the bleeding.

Maj Hinga, who expected the fighting to last about five minutes, as did wi e Al-Shabaab’s ambush tactics, called for reinforcements as the train was running out of ammunition.

He only stayed with one bullet in his weapon and decided to keep it with him use it myself instead of being caught.

“I was wondering if I should let myself be taken prisoner. I decided to use the bullet on myself. Then I heard helicopters approaching and rockets hitting the attackers, ”he said.

The MD 530F attack helicopters degraded the attackers who disappeared in the forest.

An officer who had just returned from APC security training in China led the rescue and evacuation of the injured.

However , the soldiers could not be flown out of the air because of the threat of follow-up attacks by the enemy.

They were instead taken on the road to a safe area before going to the Dhobley Level 2 KDF Hospital and later flown to the Forces Memorial Hospital in Nairobi.

“I wondered if we would survive the excruciating hour drive to the hospital. I was relieved when we got to the hospital and got the first injection of morphine for the pain, ”said Maj Hinga.

only bones

” Doctors said my left leg was just a bone. In the hospital I realized how natural we take the simple joys of life for granted. “

During the ambush, Sgt Hussein, who had joined the Kolbio commander – Maj Nabiswa. – to help the attacked team was shot.

The rest of the Soldiers came to the ambush and helped evacuate the injured.

While in the hospital, Maj Hinga had to deal with being washed by nurses who also helped him with himself to relieve.

Maj Hinga said the psychological support he received from KDF, his then fiancée, family and his chaplain helped him overcome the emotional fear.

He suffered from insomnia for weeks but gradually accepted the injuries.

The frustrated Maj Hinga asked his fiancée to choose between living with a disabled man or moving on.

Married

She stayed and took great care of him until he recovered. They later married and have two children.

Maj Hinga is grateful to the military that they gave him the opportunity to continue his service despite his disability.

< p class = "align - justify"> “KDF even promoted me despite my condition,” he said.

If there was another chance he would diligently serve the country in the same function, he said.

The Bachelor of Science graduate has since turned to cycling for rehabilitation.

Maj Hinga joined KDF in 2010 and was trained at the Kenyan Military Academy (KMA), Lanet, before going to the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, to train with British soldiers on duty in Afghanistan. He entered service in 2012.

On his return he was transferred to D Company of 5 Kenya Rifles, which were part of Operation Linda Nchi. was deployed in the border town of Kolbio.