Kenyan Fighter Jets Strike Militant Targets in Southern Somalia
Kenyan fighter jets attacked al-Qaeda-linked militants in southern Somalia, two days after explosions in its capital city left at least 12 people dead.
The Kenyan air force struck an explosives-making compound at Jilib, about 334 kilometers (207 miles) southwest of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir said on his Twitter account. A second site housing al-Shabaab fighters, some of them Kenyans, was also hit by the jets, he said. An assessment of the damage is under way.
“The warplanes attacked farmlands on the outskirts of Jilib town,” Mohamed Abdi Kalil, governor of Somalia’s Gedo region, said by phone. There were no casualties, he said.
Kenya’s military began an incursion into southern Somalia in October 2011 to combat al-Shabaab militants it blamed for a series of attacks on aid workers and tourists. Al-Shabaab threatened to retaliate unless the forces were withdrawn and in September the group claimed responsibility for a raid on the Westgate mall in Nairobi, which left at least 67 people dead.
On May 16, two explosions hit the Gikomba market on the outskirts of Nairobi’s city center, killing 12 people and injuring 99. Those deaths add to the 54 people who have died and 193 that have been wounded in “terrorist attacks” in Kenya since the Westgate raid, according to Maplecroft, the Bath, U.K.-based risk consultancy.