Kenyan soldier killed in Somalia fighting

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - A Kenyan soldier has been killed in a fierce
firefight between the Kenyan army and the Al Shabaab militia 17 km from the
border with Somalia in an attack that killed six of the militia, a
military spokesman said on Tuesday.

The Kenyan forces advanced on the town of Beles Qoqaani from Dhobley
after overpowering strong Al Shabaab opposition, the military
spokesperson said.

The Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) troops received aerial support from a
helicopter that fired on the Al Shabaab positions. The six
militiamen were killed during the seven-minute clash that ensued.

“Following the incident, one KDF personnel succumbed to injuries while
two sustained minor injuries,” military spokesperson Major Emmanuel
Chirchir said.

“The sector troops killed six Al Shabaab and many were injured after
the clash. Al Shabaab abandoned heavy weapons as they ran for life,”
he added.

There was sporadic shooting after the Kenyan troops advanced on the Al
Shabab positions, emerging out more aggressively after the death of
one more soldier.

The latest death brings to seven, the number of Kenyan soldiers
killed in Somalia. Five others died in a helicopter accident and the
number of the injured has now risen to 24 soldiers following the
addition of the two more casualties.

Kenyan troops have been moving in all sectors in southern and central
Somalia. The troops recently advanced on the town of Fafadun after a
fierce battle with the Al Shabaab in the Gedo region.

Kenyan military operations commander Col. Cyrus Oguna said the recent
capture of the towns of Fafadun and the advance towards the regional
capital of Badheere in the Gedo region, the biggest base of the Al
Qaeda elements in Somalia, were key victories.

“These are the key military supply routes for the Al Shabaab,” Col.
Oguna said, adding that the Al Shabaab had been racing back and forth
to defend their positions in Garbahare, which leaves the key town of
Badheere vulnerable to a successful strike.

“There are pockets of the Al Shabaab trying to hinder our advance.
This can only mean that we have a bit more area to pacify,” Col. Oguna
said.

He said the expansion of the areas under the control of the
Kenyan troops meant aid agencies could reach more people in southern
Somalia, but also that more civilian administrations were required.

According to the detailed battleplan being reviewed by the Kenyan
forces, the Al Shabaab’s top leadership is in a panic move and have
been moving their families to the semi-autonomous region of Puntland.

Continuous air strikes have rapidly depleted Al Shabaab’s military
supplies and the Kenyan forces expect the group to scramble with the
pressure it is currently putting on the sector of Beles Qooqani and
Tabda, where Tuesday’s attack took place.

“This is the sector that the Al Shabaab uses to protect what they
think is our ultimate objective, to capture the port of Kismayu,” Col.
Oguna said.
-0- PANA AO/MA 10Jan2012

10 يناير 2012 22:18:31




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