Kenya troops eye next Somali town

2011-10-19 12:27

Nairobi - Kenyan troops reinforced positions in southern Somalia in preparation for fresh assaults against the al-Qaeda linked Islamist Shabaab militia, army officials said on Wednesday.

"Our forces are in good shape to fight this battle to the end," said army spokesperson Major Emmanuel Chirchir, on the fourth day since Kenya declared war on the Shabaab militia and confirmed it had sent its army across the border.

The main forward base of Kenyan operations is at Qoqani, some 100km as they prepare to push forward to seize Afmadow, which Somali government forces are fighting to secure.

"Elements of them [Somali government forces] are in Afmadow, and we are working hand-in-hand with them, gathering information and intelligence," Chirchir added.

Heavy air strikes are reported to have been hitting Shabaab positions in efforts to dislodge the militants, before Kenyan-backed Somali government ground troops move in to drive out rebels, according to witnesses.

"Our aircraft are involved in the operations," Chirchir said, adding that Kenya was "co-operating" with Somali government forces and aligned militia forces.

Pro-government gunmen from the Ras Kamboni militia group have also been fighting against Shabaab insurgents.

Officials said the only Kenyan casualties had been the crash of a military helicopter inside Kenya, reportedly due to mechanical failure.

"In terms of injuries, the first attack saw the death of 73 Shabaab, while on our own side the only casualties so far was the coming down of the helicopter, with the death of five Kenyan soldiers," Chirchir said.

However, a police source in the Kenyan border town of Garissa told AFP that there were Kenyan casualties, including both dead and wounded soldiers.

The source did not provide further details and AFP could not independently verify the reports.

  • munyaradzi.ncube - 2011-10-19 13:32

    Probably funded by the war hungry US

      Myth - 2011-10-19 14:00

      Don't be a houdkop, this is a situation where the current SA army would see it's ringpiece. But the Kenyans and Ugandans are on top of it, without the useless AU.

      Garth - 2011-10-19 14:07

      You could not be more wrong. Tourism, is an industry vital to Kenya's economy and thereby to its people. These religion-crazed terrorists are destabilising the entire region, as part of their mission of world subjugation under the banner of islam. Kenya is retaliating in self defence - and for the good of the entire region, let us hope that they succeed in the obliteration of this evil.

      Bryan - 2011-10-19 15:52

      @munyaradzi, i doubt the US have anything to do with it, but its about time that some country has had enough of just accepting piracy and religious extremists in Africa as an everyday occuence. Good on you Kenya, i take my hat off to you...

  • Myth - 2011-10-19 13:57

    My land is Kenya, go guys, hammer the bastards! Some of my cousins on my wife's side are in the Kenyan recce forces, they be good!

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