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Kenyan air strikes kill ’60 or more’ Somali militants

Air raids on rebel positions in southern Somalia killed at least 60 Al-Shabaab fighters on Friday.

Kenyan jets somalia rebels 2012 01 07Enlarge
Hundreds of Kenyan troops crossed into neighboring Somalia in October to pursue the hardline militants it blames for a spate of attacks and kidnappings inside Kenya's borders. (CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

At least 60 Somali insurgents were killed Friday by Kenyan fighter jets targeting rebel positions in southern Somalia, the AFP has reported.

A Kenyan army spokesman told reporters that the radical Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab group lost “60 or more fighters” in air raids on Garbahare town in Somalia’s southern Gedo region.

Colonel Cyrus Oguna also stated that over 50 insurgents had been injured and nine “technical” (pick-up trucks with guns attached) had been destroyed, according to the Associated Press. Kenyan forces had taken control of the villages of Fafadon and Elade in Gedo, he claimed.

Oguna said the death toll from the attacks could rise.

Hundreds of Kenyan troops crossed the border into Somalia in October to crush the hardline militants it blames for a series of attacks and kidnappings on Kenyan soil.

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Al-Shabaab controls vast swathes of territory in southern and central Somalia and is waging a bloody insurgency against the country’s struggling, U.N.-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which is being propped up by 10,000 African Union (AU) troops.

Last month government forces – supported by Ethiopian troops who entered Somalia in November – seized the key central Somalia town of Beledwenye from the insurgents.

Forced to fight on multiple fronts and denied revenue after abandoning positions in Somalia’s war-torn capital Mogadishu last August, Al-Shabaab are believed to be struggling financially, according to the AFP.

Earlier today the UK Government revised its travel advice for British citizens, warning that terrorists may be on the verge of launching an attack in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, and advised British nationals to exercise “extra vigilance and caution in public places and at public events”. 

More from GlobalPost: Inside Somalia

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/120107/kenyan-air-strikes-kill-60-or-more-somali-militants