Kenya vows air strikes on Shebaab towns
Nairobi - Kenyan troops battling Shebaab
insurgents in southern Somalia vowed on Saturday to carry out air strikes
deeper into rebel-held territory.
Military information and operations officer Colonel
Cyrus Oguna said they would target Afgoye, a town near Mogadishu and home to
thousands of displaced people, as well as the ports of Merka and Barawe on the
"We are developing targets in areas of
Afgoye, Merka, Barawe and we want to hit deep into their (Shebaab) own
areas," Oguna told reporters.
"We want to send a message to those
living close to al-Shebaab infrastructure to try and stay away from those
infrastructure because we are developing them as legitimate objectives."
Since launching an offensive against the
al-Qaeda-linked insurgents two months ago, Kenyan warplanes have struck rebel
bases mainly in the south, and Oguna said several Shebaab fighters were killed
in air strikes in the past week.
"Air raids will continue until al-Shebaab
is completely destabilised and dislodged," he added.
Kenyan forces are in three locations in
southern Somalia, but have made little territorial advances since deploying in
Nairobi has agreed to have its forces operate
under the African Union Mission in Somalia, a 9 700-strong force made up of
Burundian and Ugandan troops tasked with protecting the weak Somali government
in the capital Mogadishu.
Inside Kenya in recent weeks, several
civilians have been injured or killed in grenade and landmine attacks in areas
near the porous Kenya-Somalia border which are blamed on the Shebaab.
Kenya sent troops across the border to battle
the hardline militants it blamed for a spate of kidnappings and attacks on home