Nairobi: Kenyan fighter jets killed at least
60 Islamist Shebab insurgents in southern Somalia in the
latest air strike on insurgent positions, officials said
"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 added.
Al Qaeda linked Shebab rebels have repeatedly
dismissed Kenyan casualties reports as lies, and it was not
possible to independently confirm the deaths.
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
"We will keep hitting them (Shebab) until their spine
is completely broken ... and we will relish that moment,"
Hardline Shebab fighters control large parts of
central and southern Somalia but are facing increasing
pressure from government forces and regional armies.
Ethiopian forces moved across its border into Somalia
in November, and last month fought alongside pro-government
gunmen to wrest control of Beledweyne in central Somalia's
Hiran region from the insurgents.
Kenya said it had exchanged liaison officers with the
Ethiopian army since they both faced a common enemy, but that
the two fronts remained separate.
"The Ethiopians ... might ease pressure because
Al-Shebab will be spread out with more enemies to fight, but
they have their operation, and we have ours," Oguna said.
A 10,000-strong African Union force, made up of troops
from Uganda, Burundi and Djibouti, is defending the fragile
Western-backed government from Shebab fighters in the war-torn
First Published: Saturday, January 07, 2012, 18:46