Kenya Says Somali Militants on the Run

Posted October 22nd, 2011 at 2:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Kenya says Somalia's al-Shabab militants were on the run after it deployed more ground troops and launched airstrikes against rebel targets to secure its border against Somali insurgents.

Kenya's army reported Saturday that its air and ground forces had pushed further across southern Somalia in its pursuit of al-Shabab. The government said forces had moved beyond Oddo and that it had launched an air strike on Munarani, 10 kilometers away from Oddo, hitting an al-Shabaab command center.

Meanwhile, witnesses in the rebel-held town of Afmadow say Kenyan troops are closing in on the border town and may fight their first ground battle against the militants since launching an offensive seven days ago. Residents there reported airstrikes overnight.

Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula said late Friday that Nairobi was making gains against the insurgents and that they were growing weaker by the day. Wetangula made the comments in Ethiopia following an emergency meeting of the regional group Inter Governmental Authority for Development, also known as IGAD, on the issue of Somali militants.

Kenya sent its troops into Somalia to pursue militants it blames for a string of foreign kidnappings on Kenyan soil, threatening the country's reputation as a safe investment and tourist destination.