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Kenya jets bomb Al-Shabaab-controled southern Somali town

19 May 2014, 08:15

Nairobi - Kenyan fighter jets bombed militant targets in the southern Somali town of Jilib Sunday as military offensive by African Union peacekeepers against the group continue, sources said.

Residents in Jilib said that the Kenyan jets targeted the village of Maano-Gaabo which is base to fighters of the radical Al- Qeada-linked Al-Shabaab.

"We hear planes flying low overhead, then three or more explosions in Maanyo-Gaabo. I don't know if anyone was hurt in the explosions," a resident in Jilib, who asked for anonymity for safety reasons, told Xinhua.

The Village of Maanyo-Gaabo is 5 km north of the town of Jilib in the southern Somali region of Middle Juba, 320 km southwest of the Somali capital. Jilib is one of the few remaining urban areas still under militant control.

Pro-Al-Shabaab websites confirmed the strikes which they said hit a banana plantation but did not cause any causality, a claim that cannot be independently verified.

The Al-Shabaab fighters were quoted as saying they have "repulsed the Kenya airstrikes."

Kenyan troops, part of the AU peacekeeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), are deployed in the southern Somali regions along the two countries' common border.

AMISOM troops and Somali government forces launched a major offensive against the group this year and forced Al-Shabaab fighters from a number of key areas in the south and center of Somalia.

The offensive was reportedly suspended by AMISOM and requested UN for more personnel and equipment to help them cope with the expanding areas under Somali government control.

 - Xinhua

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