The raid lasted the entire day; thousands upon thousands of bullets fired by some 300 Al-Shabaab militants in a brutal assault on Kenyan soldiers stationed in Somalia to fight the terrorist group.
By the time the sun set, as many as 141 Kenyan soldiers were dead — some shot at point-blank range. That figure would make what happened at El Adde Kenya’s largest military defeat since its independence in 1963.
But in the months since, there has been no national day of mourning, no roll call of honor, and no explanation.
The only clues to what happened are contained in a propaganda video made by Al-Shabaab itself.
The exact details of what went on at El Adde — and just how many Kenyan troops died there — remains shrouded in mystery.
The Somali government says 200 Kenyan soldiers, key to the African Union’s fight against al-Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab, were at the base that day.
Al Shabaab, which is known to exaggerate its figures, claims to have killed 100 Kenyans.
This time, though, the terror group may actually be underestimating: Two officials familiar with the recovery operations have told CNN that the Kenyan death toll from that day is at least 141.
Kenya’s government is yet to release official figures. On the day of the attack the Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) first said its soldiers were helping to repel an attack on a Somali National Army base before stating that the KDF had incurred unspecified losses.
But as the hours wore on and rumors intensified of just how fierce and bloody the fight for El Adde was, the press releases stopped and the KDF’s media wing went silent.
Information surrounding the attack needed to be handled “carefully” and “meticulously,” Cabinet Secretary for Defense Rachael Omamo explained, “for the benefit of the families of our soldiers.”
The KDF did not respond to CNN’s repeated requests for comment and information about the attack.
Its only public admission of what happened at the base since then has been the return of four flag-draped caskets home to Kenya.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta paid tribute to the four acknowledged casualties from the raid as they were brought home: “Their bravery is undimmed. And for this, we as a nation are grateful to all of them.”
In the months since, more coffins, more bodies have been quietly handed over, one by one, to the soldiers’ grieving families, often bringing with them more questions than they do answers.