[Dehai-WN] Agency France Press: Kenya: 'Not Necessarily' Aiming for Kismayo - Minister

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Sat, 3 Dec 2011 12:42:36 +0100

Kenya: 'Not Necessarily' Aiming for Kismayo - Minister
Dec 3, 2011 - 12:51:29 AM

The Kenyan army, which entered Somalia in mid-October to fight Somalia's
Shebab Islamist rebels, is not necessarily headed for the key port of
Kismayo, Kenyan Defence Minister Yusuf Haji said Friday.

"I don't know where this objective came from. We have never stated at any
time that Kenya was going to Kismayo," he told journalists when asked how
long it would take the troops to reach the port.

"All we said is that we were pushing Shebab away from our boundary and
securing our border, and we will go as far as we will go," he said on his
return from Khartoum.

When a journalist asked "so the troops will not get to Kismayo?" he replied
"Not necessarily."

On November 1, army spokesman Emmanuel Chirchir, describing a series of
movements by Kenyan forces, said: "All this is designed to achieve our
advance to Kismayo."

Army officers have made several contradictory remarks since the military
intervention started.

Meanwhile fighter jets bombed an area in southern Somalia close to the
border with Kenya, an Islamist rebel commander and residents said, but there
were no immediate reports of casualties.

"Two military jets presumably belonging to the invading enemy (Kenya)
bombarded El-Ade area. There were no casualties as they had no specific
targets," Sheikh Mohamed Ibrahim, a Shebab military commander, told AFP by

"We saw two jets flying over El-Ade and few minutes later several huge
explosions were heard, but we are not sure yet if there were casualties,"
said Abdinur Mohamud, an elder in the area.

"The planes fired two missiles on to a Shebab-controlled area. We don't know
if anyone was killed or wounded," said Ahmed Moalim, another witness.

The Shebab also said they launched an attack on a small village near Bilis
Qoqani "killing many enemy soldiers, including Kenyan soldiers."

The Somali government confirmed the fighting but denied the Shebab claims,
saying government troops had had the upper hand.

"The terrorists have attacked our military positions near Qoqani but they
were defeated," Colonel Yusuf Said told AFP.

Kenyan army spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna confirmed an "incident" had taken
place in that area, but said information was still trickling in and that he
would brief the press on Saturday

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