30 dead as militias clash near Kenya border

October 22, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22 – Intense fighting between Somalia\’s Al Shabaab and other rival militia groups at the Kenya-Ethiopia-Somalia border has left 30 dead, Internal Security PS Francis Kimemia said.

Two Kenyans including a young girl were wounded in the fighting that has been going on since Thursday.

"There has been intense fighting at the border with Somalia where Al Shabaab and other rival groups are fighting.  So far, 30 people have been killed on the Somalia side," Mr Kimemia said.

"We have a young girl and a man who have been wounded on our side but security has been intensified at the border.  We now have round-the-clock patrols to ensure our people are safe," he said and added: "One of those wounded was shot in the hip."

Mr Kimemia spoke during the closure of a training workshop for senior administration and regular police instructors at the Administration Police Training College [APTC] in Embakasi.

"We have the GSU, army and regular police patrolling those parts, our border is secure despite the intense fighting there," Mr Kimemia added.

As a result of the gun fight, the PS said, many refugees were streaming into the country.

"We have had a lot of refugees coming into our country since the fight started. Up to 1,000 refugees have entered the country," he added.

Mr Kimemia said: "Kenyans should not be worried because our borders are secure, we have enough security there ensuring that combatants do not cross over the border."

The clashes in Bulohawo erupted late on Thursday and pitted fighters from the Al Shabaab rebel group against a pro-government clan militia led by a local warlord recently trained by Ethiopian forces.

"The fighting stopped late last [Thursday] night and we fully control the city now," said Moalim Muse Ahmed, a senior commander with the pro-government militia.

"We killed many of our enemies and their dead bodies are in the streets," he added.

But according to residents, the fighting resumed on Friday morning.

"The fighting was the heaviest ever in the town and at least 16 people, most of them fighters, were killed," Abdirahman Abikar, an elder, told AFP by telephone.

"There was heavy shelling from the pro-government side when the fighting resumed early this [Friday] morning and the town is now under the control of Somali forces," he said.

Witnesses said the fighting claimed some civilian lives too.

"We are collecting the dead bodies this [Friday] morning, five members from one family who were killed after an artillery fire hit their house are among the casualties," Yahya Mohamed, a local resident, said.


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