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Somali airstrike: 5 dead 45 wounded

31 October 2011, 13:23

Mogadishu - An airstrike on Sunday in Somalia killed five people and wounded 45, mostly women and children, in a camp for people displaced by drought and violence, aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said.

Kenya's military spokesman confirmed on Sunday its jets struck the town of Jibil, where the IDP camp is located, saying 10 al Shabaab insurgents had been killed. He dismissed reports of any civilian casualties as al Shabaab propaganda.

"I can confirm five dead and 45 wounded," Gautam Chatterjee, Head of Mission for MSF Holland in Somalia, told Reuters. "In our hospital in Marare, we received 31 children, nine women and five men. All of them of with shrapnel injuries."

Kenya moved its troops into Somalia in mid-October in pursuit of the Somali insurgents it blames for a series of kidnappings on Kenyan soil and frequent assaults on its security forces in the border province of North Eastern.

The first serious clash between Kenyan troops and al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab insurgents was last Thursday. Kenya said it killed nine rebels and one Kenyan soldier wounded in the insurgent ambush subsequently died.

MSF's Chatterjee said three children, one man and one woman had been killed in the aerial bombardment, witnessed by MSF employees in a camp that is home to 1,500 households.

Chatterjee declined to comment on Kenyan military denials of any civilian casualties in Jibil, saying he could only give details of the patients MSF had received for treatment.

He said MSF had now evacuated its team from Jibil so a distribution of rations planned for Monday had been postponed.

- Reuters


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