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KDF step up military operations in S. Somalia after base attack

17 January 2016, 09:47

Nairobi - Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) said Saturday they have intensified ground and air operations against Al-Shabaab fighters who overran their base in Elade in southern Somalia on Friday, killing dozens of soldiers.

KDF spokesman David Obonyo said Kenyan troops serving under AMISOM and Somalia National Army (SNA) soldiers suffered casualties but added that the numbers are yet to be confirmed since consolidation was still going on.

"In light of this unfortunate incident, KDF has increased its military operations against the Al-Shabaab militia in a bid to contain the situation in Elade and its environs," Obonyo said.

He assured the country that Kenyan troops under AMISOM are doing all they can to consolidate the situation in the shortest time possible.

The Friday attack by Al-Shabaab was one of the most daring and devastating incidents since the troops' presence in Somalia.

The incident began at 4 a.m. when a suicide bomber drove a car loaded with explosives into the gate of the militant camp.

KDF troops from a nearby camp launched a counter strike with gunners and mobile artillery but met heavy resistance in a full-blown battle involving mortars.

Read Also:  President mourns troops killed by Al Shabaab in Somalia

Al-Shabaab claimed it killed 63 soldiers, however, AMISOM spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Paul Njuguna has dismissed that figure as "propaganda".

Meanwhile, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Francisco Madeira has strongly condemned the dawn attack on its base by Al-Shabaab militants.

The AU envoy said such attacks further demonstrate the vile nature of Al-Shabaab, whose sole purpose is to spread terror and continue to destabilize Somalia.

"Our resolve can only be rejuvenated, to fight on until Somalia is freed of all elements of terror," Madeira said and sent his condolences to the families of the soldiers.

Kenya has more than 4,000 troops in the 22,000-strong AU force in Somalia helping the UN-backed government battle Al-Shabaab, which is part of the Al-Qaida allied terror network.

Kenya is currently engaged in the fight against the militia group in southern Somalia where it has been registering impressive gains and extending humanitarian assistance to the local population.

Al-Shabaab has however, vowed reprisal attacks, mainly targeting security forces in border towns of northern Kenya where dozens of people have been killed in landmine and grenade attacks.

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- Xinhua


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