Air strike hits Somali village, deadly bomb in capital
Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:36pm GMT
* At least one civilian killed in air raid
* Kenya says it was not involved in strike
* Mogadishu bomb kills six civilians
* Kenya says al Shabaab to post fraudulent execution video (Adds army
spokesman, more residents, Mogadishu)
By Feisal Omar and Mohamed Ahmed
MOGADISHU, Nov 22 (Reuters) - An unidentified fighter jet bombed the
outskirts of a Somali rebel-controlled village in the south of the Horn of
Africa country on Tuesday, killing at least one civilian, residents and
members of the al Shabaab militant group said.
Local people said the village in the Gedo region, which borders Kenya and
Ethiopia, was a known rebel haunt. The insurgents said none of their
combatants were stationed in the strike zone at the time of the bombardment.
A Kenyan army spokesman said Kenya was not involved in the air raid and that
he was unaware of any bombing in the area.
"A warplane struck the village of Yaqle. We don't know if there were any al
Shabaab casualties, but the body of an elderly nomadic woman lay on the
ground," Amina Ali, a nearby resident who rushed to the blast site, told
Another witness, Mahmud Ali, said he heard a loud explosion from his home in
El Ade about 4 km (2.5 miles) away and then saw a plume of smoke rise into
the sky before he too went to Yaqle. He said he saw the woman's body.
Neighbouring Kenya sent hundreds of troops into southern Somalia more than
five weeks ago to crush the insurgents it blames for a series of kidnappings
on its soil and regular cross-border attacks. Its air force has launched a
wave of strikes on what it says are rebel targets.
Ethiopia too sent dozens of military trucks and armoured vehicles into
central Somalia over the weekend, witnesses said.
Some Ethiopian troops passed through towns in northeastern Kenya before
crossing into Somalia through the Damasa border post, residents and
officials in the area said. Damasa is about 25 km from Yaqle.
"We heard heavy explosions hitting the other side of the border a few
moments after a jet flew over Damasa," said Mohamed Lesamow from the Kenyan
side of the border. "We are scared. Al Shabaab could carry out revenge
Ethiopia publicly denies its forces are inside Somalia. Addis Ababa has said
a decision on whether to join the assault against al Shabaab in some form
would be taken on Friday at a meeting of east African heads of state.
Ethiopia's military engagement would open up a third front on al Shabaab,
with the rebels battling Kenyan forces in the south and an African
peacekeeping force -- AMISOM -- in the capital, Mogadishu.
The Western-backed government now controls virtually the entire coastal
city, but the rebels have stepped up guerrilla-style hit-and-run attacks
there since pulling most of their fighters out in August.
A remote-controlled roadside bomb in Mogadishu killed six civilians and
wounded 10 others, witness Hussein Mohamud told Reuters, the latest in a
string of low-level attacks that underscore the challenges in securing the
"The bomb targeted a police car moving along a busy road in the (Madina)
district," Mohamud said. "The car escaped undamaged."
It was not clear who was behind the blast. Separately, police blamed al
Shabaab for an attack on a government checkpoint in the south of Mogadishu
on Monday night. One person was wounded.
Meanwhile, Somali government troops clashed with al Shabaab militants
bracing for battle with Kenya near the southern town of Qoqani.
"We ambushed Somali troops who wanted to attack us between Qoqani and Haye.
They ran away from six of their own dead," said Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, a
spokesman for the al Shabaab fighters.
A Somali soldier who declined to be named confirmed the attack but said they
had killed seven militants while just one of their own had been killed. It
was not possible to independently verify the accounts.
Al Shabaab commander Sheikh Said Warsan said innocent civilians had been
harmed in the Yaqle air strike and vowed to hold Kenya and Ethiopia to
"The blood of Somalis will not be left unaccounted for. Kenya and Ethiopia
will answer," Warsan told Reuters by telephone from Baardheere in Gedo.
Kenyan army spokesman Emmanuel Chirchir said al Shabaab planned to release a
video clip showing the execution of "a person or people" belonging to the
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF).
"(We) categorically state that no KDF soldier has been captured or is
missing since the onset of Operation Linda Nchi," Chirchir said in a
statement, referring to the Swahili name for Kenya's offensive which means
"protect the nation". (Additional reporting by Abdi Sheikh and Omar Faruk in
Mogadishu, Sahra Abdi in Mombasa, Noor Ali in Garissa and Richard Lough in
Nairobi; Writing by Richard Lough)
C Thomson Reuters 2011 All rights reserved
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Received on Tue Nov 22 2011 - 19:01:20 EST