At least 17 Somali civilians have been killed and dozens of others injured in airstrikes carried out by Kenya warplanes on different areas across South-western Somalia, army sources confirmed.
The airborne attacks took place in the Gedo region, close to the Somalia-Kenya border. It was where the Kenyan peacekeepers were targeted in a deadly attack by al-Shabaab militants last week.
‘’They [Kenyan warplanes] have pounded many villages indiscriminately where civilians are living. 17 people have lost their lives so far and 30 others seriously injured,’’ said one Somali army officer in the region.
Local elders have condemned the airstrikes calling for the Federal government of Somalia and International Human Rights organization to deal with the Kenyan government on the atrocities against civilians in the region.
Heavily armed militants from the Al-Shabaab extremist Islamist group launched an attack on a military base run by Kenyan troops in the village of El adde in the region last Friday. Al Shabaab claimed to have killed more than 100 Kenyan troops.
In the past, Kenyan warplanes killed dozens of civilians in Southern Somalia in airborne attacks aimed at the al-Qaeda-linked extremists.
Kenya sent forces into Somalia in 2011 to fight the al-Qaida-inspired Islamist group, which has carried out a series of bombings and kidnappings in the region.
Nairobi officials have said they will keep their troops in Somalia for as long as necessary to win the war. Kenyan troops are fighting alongside African Union forces.
In a Press statement released on Tuesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta called for the Kenyans to unite and support the government on the war against al-Shabaab extremists.
‘’Every Kenyan must understand that this war demands our unity as a nation. We must stand shoulder to shoulder, and face together the enemy of humanity.