Friday, 25th November 2011
By Adow Jubat, Cyrus Ombati and Agencies
Air strikes by the Kenya Defence Forces have destroyed two Al Shabaab camps identified as Wamaitho and Kisima near the town of Babade in Somalia, killing seven militants and injuring eight.
KDF and TFG troops also attacked an Al Shabaab training camp in the town of Hawina between the towns of Dobley and Tabda killing 3 insurgents and capturing two AK 47 rifles.
A statement released by the military said the latest assault had further crippled the militia group that has been under assault by a combined land, air and sea assault from the Kenya Defence Forces.
"KDF (Kenya Defence Force) air strikes successfully destroyed two Al Shabaab camps," military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir said the day after the attacks near Badade, some 30km from the Kenyan border.
In a related incident, one soldier died after a landmine blew up and almost pulverised a Kenya Army truck on the Kenya-Somalia border and inflicting near-fatal injuries on four of his colleagues.
Eight other Kenya Defence Forces personnel who escaped with serious physical harm were taken to Mandera District Hospital for treatment.
The soldier died of injuries sustained in the explosion, while receiving treatment at the Mandera District Hospital.
Seriously injuredFour of the seriously injured colleagues were later airlifted from Mandera to Garissa Provincial Hospital for further treatment, but were said to be in stable conditions.
Sources within the military said the deadly explosive was most likely planted by Al Shabaab militants or their hired sympathisers.
The impact of the explosion believed to be a powerful landmine laid near Bulla-Garaay in Township division, less than three kilometres from the war-torn neighbouring Somalia town of Bula-Hawa was heard in Mandera town.
The military lorry was reduced to twisted metal, while the deafening explosion that sent scores of locals fleeing their homes, a clear indication that the seriousness of the incident, shocked residents.
The explosion came a day after another soldier was seriously injured in an ambush at Abdi Sugow Road, less than 10km from border town of Liboi in Garissa County.
North-Eastern Provincial Police Officer Leo Nyongesa confirmed that the explosion that occurred near Mandera town at 7am yesterday injured "a number of military personnel and some of them critical condition".
"I heard of an explosion where several army officers were hurt, some badly after their military patrol vehicle hit what we suspect to be a landmine," the provincial police boss said.
Nyongesa said security officers were combing the scene of crime for clues to establish the cause of the explosion believed to be the work of the Somali Islamist group, Al Shabaab whose previous incursions into the country has provoked the Kenya military to launch its first external assaults against foreign aggressors.
He urged the people to be weary of any suspicious-looking persons they may spot to forestall criminal plots.
However, the PPO refused to speak further on the incident, saying that it was a military matter, which needs to be confirmed in detail by the military spokesman in Nairobi.
Kenya Defence Forces arrested more 300 people in the nearby villages and soldiers from Transitional Federal Government who crossed from the neighbouring Somalia border district of Bulla-Hawa.
Mandera Town Council chairman councillor Mohamed Adan Khalif said one military officer was confirmed dead at the Mandera District Hospital, while receiving treatment.
Broken armsThe civic leader said a prominent businessman Ali Bulsho and the Imam of the Mandera Jamia Mosque were among those who had their arms broken during the arrest.
Local people complained it was the third incident of military harassment of people. They condemned the way the military was handling them.
The chairman further claims some untrained TFG soldiers were also crossing the town and beating up Kenyans, noting that two governments are running the town.
Khalif asked: "As leaders we wonder what the role of TFG soldiers is. Whenever there is an explosion in Mandera, which is a town in Kenya, they (TFG) join the KDF in harassing the people. We can understand when our people are beaten by our military officers, but how can a foreign force assault our people?"
He added: "We fear if this kind of harassment continues, KDF will lose the heart and minds of the locals they have been enjoying since the military incursion began five weeks ago. Nobody shall expect co-operation from an intimidated people."
Nominated councillor Faizul Abdinoor said he saw 12 of the injured soldiers being rushed to hospital from the scene of the incident.
"The explosion was much heavier than previous attacks in the town since the military entered Somalia," said Abdinoor.
Since the Kenya military incursion into Somalia there have been several attacks believed to be carried out by Al Shabaab in Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, and Dadaab even as the military reports gains against the Islamist group by capturing their military bases and killing scores of them.
The extremist militants are under growing pressure as regional armies slowly encircle them, with Kenyan forces in the south, Ugandan and Burundian African Union forces in Mogadishu, and Ethiopian troops in the west.
The conflict, however, comes at a cost for civilians caught up in the skirmishes.
The United Nations warned yesterday that Ethiopia’s reported deployment of troops into Somalia could worsen the world’s severest humanitarian crisis.
"Local sources report that hundreds of Ethiopian troops entered Somalia on November 20, opening a new front against Al Shabaab," the UN said in a report.