Kenya tells Somalis to avoid rebel sites, hints at new strikes


The Kenyan army warned residents in Somalia’s southern regions to stay clear of rebel militant camps and road blocks, hinting that new attacks against Islamist militants were imminent.

Last week, Kenya launched air strikes and a drone attack against al Shabaab rebels after the group claimed responsibility for a raid by gunmen on a Nairobi shopping mall in September that killed at least 67 people.
“We ask good people of Somalia in areas of Gedo, Mid Juba and Lower Juba to stay far from al Shabaab bases/camps/roadblocks,” army spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir said on social media.

A “round of visitations” was imminent, he said.

Chirchir declined further comment when contacted by Reuters.

A second spokesman, Colonel Cyrus Oguna, asked if this meant there were plans for new strikes, told Reuters: “We always have plans to attack a couple of places.”

Kenya, which is fighting in Somalia under the banner of African Union peacekeepers, said its war planes destroyed al Shabaab training camp on October 31, an attack the militants denied. A Kenyan drone killed two senior al Shabaab commanders in a missile attack on their vehicle.

But commanders of the near 18,000-strong AU peacekeeping force say it lacks troop numbers and firepower to extend territorial gains against al Shabaab, which still controls swathes of rural areas in southern and central Somalia.