Kenya intensifies operations against Al-Shabaab targets in Somalia

NAIROBI – Kenya’s military said its soldiers have intensified both air and ground operations targeting Al-Shabaab camps in southern Somalia after the militants raided its camp in Kulbiyow on Friday, killing nine of its personnel.

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) spokesman Col. Paul Njuguna said on Saturday night that the troops operating under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) will relentlessly pursue the terrorists to ensure peace and stability of the region as well as support AMISOM in stabilizing Somalia.

“Since Friday, offensive ground and air operations have been intensified targeting Al-Shabaab camps and pacification of the area has been undertaken,” Njuguna said in a statement issued in Nairobi on Saturday night.

Njuguna confirmed that the bodies of the dead soldiers had been flown to Nairobi while the injured were receiving treatment at the Forces Memorial Hospital.

On Saturday, Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo and senior military officers visited the Defence Memorial Hospital to comfort the recuperating soldiers as well as address the next of kin of the dead soldiers.

Kenya said nine of its personnel were killed when Al-Shabaab overran the camp on Friday. Njuguna said KDF killed 70 Al-Shabaab militants while the terror group claimed at least 57 Kenyan soldiers had been killed.

However, reports quoting military sources said at least 68 Kenyan soldiers were killed in the Friday dawn attack on their camp by Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia.

“It was a terrible scene,” one of the officers told The Standard, a local daily, on Sunday, adding that the attack closely mirrored last year’s ambush at El Adde, where 173 soldiers were killed.

The Friday dawn attack started at 5 a.m. when two vehicles filled with powerful explosives were driven by suicide bombers into the barrier leading to the camp.

The explosion ripped through the camp, tearing down the sack-filled barricades. Tens of militants on pick-up trucks fitted with heavy artillery, stormed in and opened fire on the soldiers.

These suicide explosions were followed by hordes of attackers who were repulsed by the soldiers.

It took hours for a specialized rescue team from Hulugho Camp, at least 20 km away, to reach their comrades as the militants had planted explosives on various routes.

Troops on the ground embarked on restoration of the innovative tactical defence to address the threat posed by vehicle bound explosive devices (VBIED).

However, Njuguna said KDF soldiers at Kulbiyow camp remain vigilant and undeterred and will ruthlessly pursue the insurgents to stabilize the Horn of Africa nation.

Source: Angola Press News Agency