Saturday, January 7, 2012

Kenyan jets kill '60 or more' Somali militants

NAIROBI — Kenyan fighter jets killed at least 60 Islamist Shebab insurgents in southern Somalia in the latest assault by regional countries to heap pressure on the extremist rebels, officials said on Saturday.

"Levels of casualties were very high in air strikes on Friday," Kenyan army spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna told reporters, adding the bombing raids hit rebel positions in Garbahare in southern Somalia's Gedo region.

"Provisional casualties are that Al-Shebab lost 60 or more fighters, and more than 50 were injured," Oguna said, adding that nine "technicals" -- pick-up trucks mounted with guns -- were destroyed.

Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels have repeatedly dismissed Kenyan casualty reports as lies, and it was not possible to confirm the deaths independently.
Kenya sent troops across the border into Somalia in October to battle the hardline militants it blamed for a spate of attacks on home soil, and are fighting alongside Somali pro-government forces.

Progress has been slow, with Kenyan forces at first bogged down in mud, but the army has been keen to portray an upbeat message of its chance of success against the insurgents.

"We will keep hitting them until their spine is completely broken ... and we will relish that moment," Oguna said, adding that Kenya's official combat losses so far are six soldiers killed by enemy fire and 22 wounded. Read More