Kenyan troops 100km inside Somalia

MOGADISHU, Oct 17 – Hundreds of Kenyan troops ventured deep into Somalia on Monday to hunt Al Shabaab fighters blamed for a spate of kidnappings, prompting the Al Qaeda group to threaten reprisals in the heart of Nairobi.

Backed by aerial bombings and guided by pro-government Somali forces, Kenyan troops moved deeper into southern Somalia, a day after Nairobi declared war on the Shebab militia and confirmed that it had sent its army across the border.

Kenyan soldiers were reported near the village of Qoqani, some 50 miles inside southern Somalia, an Al Shabaab stronghold.

“The Kenyan troops supported by tanks and other military vehicles have taken up positions near Qoqani,” said Saleban Mohamed, an elder in a nearby village.

“I saw around 32 trucks and tanks, with hundreds of troops,” he added.

“The Kenyan soldiers are heavily armed and they have started digging trenches near Qoqani,” Abdulahi Sayid Adam, another witness said.

“The Kenyan forces have crossed about 100 kilometres deep into Somalia and in some cases their military aircraft have bombed inside Somalia. If they continue this way, they will regret and feel the consequences back home,” Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage told reporters at a press conference.

“Kenya has peace, its cities have tall buildings and business is booming there, while Somalia is in chaos. If your government ignores our calls to stop its aggression on Somali soil, we will strike at the heart of your interests,” he said, addressing the Kenyan population.

Kenya confirmed on Sunday its forces have crossed the border into war-torn Somalia to fight hardline Al Shabaab forces they accuse of kidnapping foreigners.

Hassan Turki, a senior southern Al Shabaab leader, immediately promised that his men would force the Kenyan troops “to test the pain of the bullets.”

Al Shabaab fighters were reported on Monday to be boosting defences and sending “hundreds” of fighters towards Kenyan and government positions.

“I saw around 50 trucks and pickup trucks mounted with machine guns, with hundreds of fighters heading towards the Kenyan border,” Abdi Jumale, a resident in the rebel-held port of Kismayo told AFP by telephone.

Al Shabaab commanders confiscated at least a hundred trucks late Sunday from the Lower Shabelle region, outside the capital Mogadishu, to transport gunmen southwards towards the battle zones, witnesses said.

“Many trucks were taken by Al Shabaab from civilians to transport fighters, they are heading towards the Juba regions,” a witness in Afgoye district near Mogadishu told AFP, asking not to be named for security reasons.

“They have collected all weapons near Afgoye, and gathered hundreds of young fighters to face their enemy,” another witness said.

Five Kenyan soldiers died when their military helicopter providing air cover for ground troops crashed late Sunday due to reported “technical problems” near Liboi, just inside Kenya’s border, army spokesman Emmanuel Chirchir said.

The assault came after Kenya’s Internal Security Minister George Saitoti vowed to attack the Al Shabaab “wherever they will be.”

In the past five weeks a British woman and a French woman have been abducted from beach resorts in two separate incidents, dealing a major blow to Kenya’s tourism industry.

On Thursday, two Spanish aid workers were seized by gunmen from Kenya’s crowded Dadaab refugee camp, the world’s largest with some 450,000 mainly Somali refugees.

It was unclear how long Kenyan troops planned to stay in Somalia but Nairobi had been under growing pressure to take action and attempt to restore confidence that it could safely host tourists and one of the world’s largest aid communities.

The Al Shabaab had long refrained from carrying out attacks inside Kenya, which observers argued was useful to them as a logistical and financial base.

While Kenya troops have frequently been reported to have crossed the long porous border in recent years, Nairobi had never confirmed any involvement and was always cautious to minimise its exposure to reprisals.

In July 2010, the Al Shabaab group claimed responsibility for suicide attacks in central Kampala that killed at least 76 people in what it said was retaliation for Uganda’s leading role in the Mogadishu-based African peace force.

The Al Shabaab had repeatedly warned similar attacks would target any regional power sending forces to support the Western-backed Somali government.

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

Agence France-Presse is a global news agency delivering fast, in-depth coverage of the events shaping our world from wars and conflicts to politics, sports, entertainment and the latest breakthroughs in health, science and technology.

  • Zambezi Kalwiji

    I SUPPORT KENYA! AFRICA MUST RID ITSELF OF SUCH MAD DOGS WHO ARE TARNISHING THE IMAGE OF ISLAM

  • Sammygombe

    islamic does not kill i suport kenya

  • Makurdit

    Kenya  should  not be cowed by mere gorillas who have continually undermined Kenyan integrity!

  • Musicbafa

    I hope the troops are well versed in guerilla warfare

  • Asmi_8

    Mr Zambezi Kalwiji What Are You talking.. How Say SUCH MAD DOGS Somlist…. Sorry

  • Senoritadoroda

    It is good that Saitoti has acted though it has taken too long. And as a consequence we have already lost a lot of investors confidence.
     http://www.tusijisunde.com/2011/insecurity-what-are-we-doing-about-it/

  • Tom Kisia

    Honestly speaking, i will cowardly and wisely say that our troops should just come back home and call for negotiations with Al Shabaab. US decided they can never negotiate with terrorists but how many innocent americans have died because of that hard stand? Kenya shouldnt fall into a trap of retailiation while our government cannot protect its citizens! I came into town today andthe feelng that i live by God’s grace hits me hard because i did not spot any police or security personnel other than our watchies who use mirrors to check for bombs in cars and metal detectors vaguely!! No country can win any war against terror groups so let’s be what we always have been; a peaceful country. God bless Kenya.

    • Jane Chepchumba

      Tom, i concur with you in some perspective because i wouldnt want to lose a family member or a feloow citizen to mere suicide bombings in our town. There’s a video that has been on youtube since December last year on youtube on Al Shabaab recruiting our youth in Majengo slums near Shauri Moyo..these guys who have already been soiled by these extremists that Kenyans are US friendly will find reasons to go against their people in the name of religion. I always wonder if NSIS does its work or paying guys to for nothing?

    • Saidimugire

      “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to
      succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must
      stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is
      right, and part with him when he goes wrong.”
      Abraham Lincoln

      “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat…You ask,
      what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea, and air.
      War with all our might and with all the strength God has given us,
      and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the
      dark and lamentable catalog of human crime. That is our policy.
      You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory.
      Victory at all costs – Victory in spite of all terrors – Victory,
      however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is
      no survival.”
      Winston Churchill

      These are just but a few great military quotes that vividly exudes the drive to retaliate against aggression from these heartless and inhumane religious fanatics_gone are the days when a life lost is due to natural cause; you say they should come back because you have not lost anyone to terror yet_this war has been there for a very long time and ‘us’ unarmed and innocent civilians have always been on the front-lines, now it’s a relief that our armed men and women have come to our rescue and taken up the fight for us!!! I hail the move made…because in times of fear and utter risk of destruction only courage can risk a life to save the lives of millions of others (that’s what our brave soldiers are doing, taking a risk for you and me). Have faith bro: God is with us_and like you said it, God bless Kenya.

    • Johnson Boaz

      hahahahahahahhahahahahhahhaha u have just showered me with the laughter of the day,why looking down upon our trained military defense? common man have you forgotten that this so called alshaababs with there so called coward forced armed we are the once who provided the full support of train to them. stop being coward men lets end the fire with big fire!! fire death and yes no life for you 

  • Jackobonyok

    God of all creation will defend Kenya Army and will come out victorious since we been provoked by these hostile
    and misguided human beings.

  • ezekiel

    Truly it is indeed time our soldiers defended this country, that peace may reighn within our boarders. To our Kenyan soldiers, be assured of our support and prayers

  • Peter Migwi

    It is the high time that the Al Shabaab are stopped. We need a world where everyone respects the sanctity of human life and not threatening citizens at will with stupid terrorism.

    Hongera wanajeshi wetu.

    Peter migwi

  • Lucas

    You can call them mad dogs, gorillas, and guerillas…..but they are terrorists. Al Shabbab and anyone on site should be eliminated ASAP, ask questions later. There is no room for negotiations. Even God supports self defense. Furthermore, this is Kenya, not America. Kenya forces-God bless them- have their own ways, and by all means necessary, to act as they are now…..62 miles into the lawless land.

  • Adamson Mwandawiro

    Kenya we are one nation which adores peace love and unity so we must keep reciprocating the same before we face the consequences since its the citizens that will suffer!Kenya soldiers should sent back home!

  • Domnik

    all terrorist chiefs and associated allies should be shown no mercy.they have just come too much to bear

  • http://www.facebook.com/shady.halo Shady Halo

    dn


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