* Attack in northern Kenya kills four, wounds two (Adds Kenyan soldiers
wounded in clash)
By Ismail Taxta and Abdi Sheikh
MOGADISHU, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Somalia's al Shabaab rebels called on Thursday
for supporters in Kenya to carry out a major strike in retaliation for a
12-day military incursion by east Africa's powerhouse.
Kenya has sent soldiers and heavy weapons into southern Somalia to crush the
al Qaeda-linked militants Nairobi blames for a string of kidnappings on
Kenyan soil and frequent border incursions.
Kenyan units have advanced on several fronts with Somali government troops
and allied militias towards al Shabaab strongholds and a fighter jet bombed
its port city of Kismayu on Sunday.
"The time to ask Kenya to stop war has passed. The only option is to fight
them. Kenya, you have started the war and so you have to face the
consequences," Sheikh Muktar Robow Abu Mansoor, a top al Shabaab official,
told a demonstration.
Kenyan military spokesman Emmanuel Chirchir told Reuters their forces
clashed with al Shabaab fighters in southern Somalia, east of a town called
Tabda, on Thursday and two wounded soldiers had been evacuated.
"There was action today between al Shabaab and our forces. We managed to
kill nine al Shabaab," he said.
An al Shabaab spokesman, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, told Reuters his
fighters had ambushed four Kenyan military vehicles near Tabda. He did not
give details of any casualties.
The al Shabaab official urged sympathisers in Kenya to shun the grenade
attacks that hit the capital Nairobi on Monday, killing one person and
wounding 29. Police said on Thursday that all but six of the victims had now
"The Kenyan Mujahideen who were trained by Osama in Afghanistan, stop
throwing grenades at buses. We need a huge blow against Kenya. Hand grenades
hurled can harm them but we want huge blasts," he told hundreds of people
gathered in Elasha, near Mogadishu.
Residents said al Shabaab had ordered them on Wednesday to close businesses
and attend the anti-Kenyan rallies.
The two grenade attacks on a bar and a bus terminus in downtown Nairobi have
spooked Kenyans and security has been beefed up in the capital at hotels,
government buildings, restaurants, bars and shopping malls.
The blasts came two days after the U.S. embassy warned of an imminent
attack. A Kenyan man has pleaded guilty to one of the attacks and being a
member of al Shabaab.
MORE GRENADE ARRESTS
Kenya's Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere said two more people had been
arrested over the attacks and were due to appear in court this week. He said
the man who pleaded guilty went to Somalia in February and returned to Kenya
The United Nations has warned that hundreds of Kenyan Muslims have been
recruited by al Shabaab and that youth organisations have raised funds for
the Somali militants.
A U.N. Monitoring Group report on Somalia published in July said al Shabaab
had extensive funding, recruiting and training networks within Kenya.
Al Shabaab has yet to carry out a major strike in Kenya but has used suicide
bombers to devastating effect in Somalia and Uganda -- whose troops are
fighting the rebels in Mogadishu as part of an African Union force.
Twin suicide blasts in Kampala killed 79 people watching the soccer World
Cup final last year and a truck bomb in Mogadishu killed more than 70 people
earlier this month.
Gunmen also attacked a vehicle in northeastern Kenya on Thursday not far
from the Somalia border, killing four government employees and wounding two
guards, officials said.
Northeastern Provincial Commissioner James Ole Serian told Reuters the
attackers were being pursued and another official said there were reports
they were heading towards Somalia.
NO TALKS WITH SHABAAB
Kenya's southern neighbour Tanzania also issued a terrorism alert late on
Wednesday following the Nairobi attacks.
"We have received threats," Robert Manumba, director of criminal
investigations, told state TV. "Experience shows us that terrorism is an
international crime. The al Shabaab group is composed of members from all
east African countries."
Al Qaeda struck Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, killing hundreds of people in
suicide bombings of the U.S. embassies there.
A diplomatic row between Somalia and Kenya over the incursion appeared to
have been resolved. Somalia's president had cast doubt on the government's
support for the Kenyan incursion on Monday.
But on Wednesday, the Somali government said while it had not agreed for
Kenyan troops to cross the border, the prime minister would head a new
committee to liaise with Nairobi.
"We support Kenya's operation inside Somalia because they support, train and
provide other military support to our troops to defeat al Shabaab and we are
very grateful to Kenya," Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali told Reuters in
"But we have to understand one thing: Somalia has the lead, our military has
the lead in all operations taking place inside Somalia," he said late on
The semi-autonomous northern Somali region of Puntland also said on Thursday
it supported the Kenyan incursion.
Kenya has long watched its anarchic neighbour warily and its troops have
made forays across the porous border with Somalia in the past, but this
month's assault marks the first concerted push to drive the rebels away from
Kenyan government spokesman Mutua stressed Kenya had no intention of
occupying southern Somalia and would return once it had dismantled al
Shabaab's networks. He also said Kenya would not negotiate with the
militants. (Additional reporting by Sahra Abdi, Mohamed Ahmed, Ibrahim
Mohamed and Feisal Omar in Mogadishu; Noor Ali in Isiolo and Daud Yussuf in
Garissa, Beatrice Gachenge, Aaron Maasho, Duncan Miriri and George Obulutsa
in Nairobi; Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala in Dar es Salaam; Writing by David Clarke;
Editing by Giles Elgood)
C Thomson Reuters 2011 All rights reserved
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Received on Thu Oct 27 2011 - 15:01:29 EDT