Kenya’s Army Chief Says No Deadline On Troops In Somalia

Posted October 29th, 2011 at 7:30 pm (UTC-5)
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SOUND: Joselow CR # 1555185 Kenya-Somalia, General Karangi Acts

Kenya says its troops will stay in neighboring Somalia as long as necessary to stop attacks by Somalian-based radical Islamists on its soil.

Kenya's military chief General Julius Karangi told reporters in Nairobi Saturday there is no timeline on the operation against Al-Shabaab rebels. He said his troops will remain in southern Somalia until Kenyans feel safe. But he stressed that Nairobi has no designs on Somali territory.

Kenya sent an undisclosed number of troops across the border earlier this month to fight Al-Shabaab, which is blamed for a series of kidnappings of foreigners on Kenyan soil.

Rebels launched a suicide attack Saturday on bases used by the African Union peacekeepers in Somalia's capital Mogadishu. The heavily armed militia exchanged fire with the peacekeepers.

The peacekeeping mission issued a statement saying two suicide bombers were involved in the attacks, but it did not say how many people were killed during the fighting.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since war lords overthrew a socialist dictators in 1991.

Al-Shabaab controls most of the country while the legitimate government controls only the capital with the help of some 9,000 African Union troops.

Hundreds of thousands of Somalis have fled across the border, many of them to Kenya.