Sunday, 30 October 2011

Kenya air raids on Somalia militants kills Civilians

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Civilians are reported to be among 10 people killed and 50 injured after Kenyan jets targeted al-Shabab militants in southern Somalia.

A Kenyan military spokesman told the BBC the planes had targeted the outskirts of the town of Jilib.

He said fighters of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group had been killed.

But Medecins Sans Frontiers said it was treating those hurt in a strike which MSF said struck a camp for displaced people, killing three civilians.

'Camp hit'

Kenyan forces have moved across the Somalia border to target the group.

The country blames al-Shabab for frequent assaults on its security forces in the border province of North Eastern as well as a spate of kidnappings.

"We received intelligence that a top al-Shabab leader was to visit a camp in Jilib so we conducted an air raid," Kenya army spokesman Maj Emmanuel Chirchir told the BBC.

"Confirmation from the human intelligence is that 10 al-Shabab fighters were killed and 47 others wounded," he added.

He said that no civilian camp had been attacked dismissing reports that displaced civilians had been killed as "al-Shabab propaganda".

But Medecins Sans Frontieres said in a statement on Sunday that its staff at a hospital in Marere were treating dozens of injured civilians following an aerial bombardment in Jilib.

The group said the attack struck a camp for internally-displaced people at around 13:30 local time (10:30 GMT) and that women and children made up most of the injured who were being brought to its facilities.

The hardline al-Shabab group, which controls much of southern Somalia, denies carrying out kidnappings and has warned Kenya to withdraw its troops from Somalia or face bloody battles.

The Islamist group is locked in a battle with the transitional government for control of parts of the country currently outside of is power, particularly in the capital Mogadishu.

The government controls very little territory, but does have several militant groups around the country it regards as allies, and it is backed by the international community.


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