Kenya to pursue kidnappers into Somalia: minister

2011-10-16 10:15

NAIROBI, Oct 15, 2011 (AFP) -Kenya's military will pursue Somali gunmen across the frontier who they say are responsible for a spate of kidnappings of foreigners, the internal security minister said Saturday.

"Our territorial integrity is threatened with serious security threats of terrorism, we cannot allow this to happen at all," said Internal Security Minister George Saitoti, accusing Somali Islamist Shebab rebels of the attacks.

"It means we are now going to pursue the enemy, who are the Al-Shebab, to wherever they will be, even in their country," he told reporters.

Two Spanish aid workers were seized Thursday by gunmen and are believed to have been taken across the border into war-torn Somalia, the third incident of foreigners being abducted in Kenya in just over a month.

"If you are attacked by an enemy, you are allowed to pursue that enemy until where you get him," said Kenyan Defence Minister Yusuf Mohammed Haji, speaking alongside Saitoti. "We will force them far away from our border."

Security forces were still searching Saturday for the two Spaniards, both logistics officers with the aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF, Doctors Without Borders), who were abducted from Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp.

"The latest is that the militants are still being pursued," Saitoti said.

"We have mobilised adequate security forces who are still pursuing them."

Kenya is still reeling from the recent kidnappings of a French and a British national from coastal regions, which has dealt a blow to its key tourism sector.

Aid agencies said they were halting all but life-saving relief efforts in Dadaab -- the world's largest refugee camp, and home to some 450,000 mainly Somali refugees fleeing drought, famine or war -- as they reviewed security.