Kenya Threatens Air Raids Against al-Shabab in Somalia

Posted December 17th, 2011 at 4:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Kenya's army has announced its intention to pursue Islamist al-Shabab insurgents with air raids deeper inside Somalia.

Military spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna said Saturday that air raids will target al-Shabab territory, including the ports of Merka and Barawe on the southern coast, and the town of Afgoye near the capital Mogadishu.

Kenya has accused the al-Qaida-linked group of abducting foreigners from its soil, which the Somalia-based militants deny.

Kenya's military sent its forces across the border in October saying it wants to prevent further al-Shabab attacks. Since launching its offensive against the insurgents, Kenyan warplanes have struck several rebel bases.

The militant group controls large parts of central and southern Somalia. It has been battling the forces of the Somali government backed by the African Union troops for the control of the capital Mogadishu.

Last week, Kenya said that its forces in Somalia would join the AU operation.

Oguna said the air attacks would continue until al-Shabab is completely removed. The radical Islamist group has been fighting AU and Somali government forces in an effort to take over power and impose strict Islamic law in Somalia.

Somalia has not had a functioning national government since 1991 when warlords toppled the country's last central government plunging it into a continued civil war.