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KDF enhances assault on Al Shabaab in Somalia

12 October 2014, 10:30

Nairobi - Kenyan troops have enhanced their crackdown on Al-Shabaab bases in southern Somalia after killing at least 60 more militants on Friday, military officials confirmed Saturday.

Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) spokesman Colonel David Obonyo said military jets destroyed Al-Shabaab bases in north of Gulagadud in Middle Juba.

"Initial battle assessment indicates 60 Al-Shabaab militants have been killed during the attacks..." Obonyo said in a brief statement issued in Nairobi.

The military spokesman said the operation, which included ground and air strikes, was the third this week in a row in an effort to liberate the area.

"The militants were regrouping to approach our strongholds when they were crashed. We counted 60 bodies and recovered five vehicles with many bullets," said Obonyo.

Several militants were injured and had retreated to Jilbi. Obonyo said they are in hot pursuit of the now weakened Al-Shabaab following attacks in their strongholds.

Read also: Al Shabaab kidnaps 5 in Lamu

Kenyan soldiers have captured a string of towns leading to Kismayo, the third largest city which is considered the hub of the militant group.

The onslaught in southern Somalia comes as the fate of five Kenyans remains unknown after being abducted by suspected Al- Shabaab militants along the border with Somalia in coastal region. The incident on Friday took place between Milimani and Basuba area in Lamu East sub-county.

The incident comes amidst heavy presence of security officers in the ongoing security operation that was launched in a bid to net suspected criminals who raided the county in the June and July, in which more than 90 people were killed.

Soldiers from the KDF are part of the African Union coalition fighting Al-Shabaab in support of the Somali government. Kenyan officials say Al-Shabaab has continued to incur losses as AMISOM forces continue to make major strides in their mandate to pacify the Horn of African nation

Kenyan forces that crossed into Somalia in October 2011 have intensified military crackdown inside southern Somalia to push back Al-Shabaab, blamed by Kenya for a series of cross-border kidnappings.

Al-Shabaab has said it views the presence of Kenyan troops in southern Somalia as an act of war. The group which has teamed up with global terror network Al-Qaida is now vowing an all-out war in Kenya, in protest against the military incursion in Somalia.

- Xinhua

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