Plane targets rebel village in south Somalia
22 November 2011, 16:25
Mogadishu - An unidentified fighter jet bombed the outskirts of a Somali rebel-controlled village in the south of the Horn of Africa country on Tuesday, killing at least one civilian, residents and members of the al-Shabaab militant group said.
Local people said the village in the Gedo region, which borders Kenya and Ethiopia, was a known rebel haunt. The insurgents said none of their combatants were stationed in the strike zone at the time of the bombardment.
"A warplane struck the village of Yaqle. We don't know if there were any al-Shabaab casualties, but the body of an elderly nomadic woman lay on the ground," Amina Ali, a nearby resident who rushed to the blast site, told Reuters.
Another witness, Mahmud Ali, said he heard a loud explosion from his home in El Ade about 4 km (2.5 miles) away and then saw a plume of smoke rise into the sky before he too scrambled to Yaqle. He said he saw the woman's body.
Neighbouring Kenya sent hundreds of troops into southern Somalia more than five weeks ago to crush the insurgents it blames for a series of kidnappings on its soil and regular cross-border attacks. Its air force has launched a wave of strikes on what it says are rebel targets.
A Kenyan military spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Al Shabaab commander Sheikh Said Warsan said innocent civilians had been harmed and vowed to hold Kenya and Ethiopia to account.
Ethiopia sent dozens of military trucks and armoured vehicles into central Somalia over the weekend, witnesses said. Addis Ababa publicly denies deploying ground forces across the frontier.
"The blood of Somalis will not be left unaccounted for. Kenya and Ethiopia will answer," Warsan told Reuters by telephone from Baardheere in Gedo.
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