Defense News - Kenya
|Monday, October 17, 2011, 09:20 AM|
|Kenyan military troops were sent to attack Islamist rebel group al-Shabab in southern Somalia.|
Kenyan military troops have crossed into Somalia and have driven out al-Shabab islamist fighters from two bases near the border in a joint operation with Somali soldiers, according to a Somali military commander.
Kenya has said it would hunt the fighters they accuse of being behind several recent kidnappings of foreigners. Residents in southern Somalia said that columns of Kenyan troops had moved in and that military aircraft were flying overhead. Resident of the city said Kenyan troops arrived in tanks and military trucks, and that troops were coordinating with Somali government soldiers.
Abdi Yusuf, a senior Somali military commander, said on Sunday that fighter jets struck two al-Shabab bases in southern Somalia, but could not confirm if the aircraft belonged to Kenya.
"There have been air strikes in ... al-Shabab bases near Afmadow late yesterday and today. We are heading towards Afmadow now. Al-Shabab have already vacated the town," he said.
Alfred Mutua, the Kenyan government spokesman, said that its troops had entered southern Somalia to fight the al-Shabab, who it says are responsible for attacks on its territory.
"Kenya violated the territorial rights of Somalia by entering our holy land, but I assure you that they will return disappointed, God willing," Sheikh Hassan Turki, a senior al-Shabab leader, said.