Somali al-Shabab militants attack Kenyan army convoy

Published: November 2, 2011

Somalia’s transitional government has said its forces, backed by Kenyan troops, have repulsed an attack by Islamist al-Shabab insurgents.
A Somali military spokesman told the BBC that they killed 36 insurgents in a counter-attack in the south.
But an al-Shabab commander said the militia had destroyed Kenyan military trucks and inflicted heavy casualties.
Kenya sent troops into Somalia last month to pursue militants it accuses of kidnapping foreigners on Kenyan soil.
Al-Shabab, which is in control of most of southern Somalia, denies the allegations.
An al-Shabab regional commander Sheik Mohamed Ibrahim said a Kenyan military convoy had been ambushed on the road from the border town of Liboi to Kenyan forward troop positions inside Somalia.
“The mujahideen fighters destroyed several of the military trucks in the convoy,” Mr Ibrahim said.
Kenya’s military spokesman, Maj Emmanuel Chirchir, confirmed that there had been a firefight between Kenyan forces and four suspected al-Shabab militants.
He said the convoy had challenged the gunmen to stop walking, at which point they opened fire.
Maj Chirchir also warned the residents of 10 towns in Somalia via Twitter of “imminent” air raids.
He said Kenya was tracking two consignments of weapons destined for al-Shabab that had been flown into Somalia in the past two days, and would strike any rebel bases where the arms were delivered.
He listed nine towns in one of his tweets: Baidoa, Bardhere, Dinsor, Afgoye, Buale, Barawe, Jilib, Kismayo and Afmadow.
He said it was an operational decision and the attacks would begin “any time” from Wednesday.
After two decades of civil conflict, Somalia is awash with guns, and analysts say any number of groups could have carried out the kidnappings – including pirate gangs.
Al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, is locked in a battle with the weak UN-back interim government for control of the parts of the country which are currently outside its power, particularly the capital, Mogadishu.
Source: BBC