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Kenya official: US, France join fight against Al Shabaab

The West has amped up its involvement in the fight against Al Shabaab in Somalia, Kenya says.
Kenya troops 2011 10 24Enlarge
Western military forces have joined the fight against Al Shabaab in Somalia, according to Kenyan officials. In this photo Kenyan troops march during "Heroes' Day" celebrations in Nairobi on Oct. 20, 2011. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images)

The international community’s involvement in the fight against Somalia's Islamic militant group, Al Shabaab, reached a new level when France said Monday it would send supplies to Kenyan troops battling the terror group in Somalia.

Further indications of growing western involvement in the Somali conflict came from Kenyan officials who linked Western military forces to airstrikes in the region.

Kenya launched an offensive into Somalia last week to fight Al Shabaab militants after a series of kidnappings in northern Kenya that authorities blame on the group, according to AP.

The U.S. and France also have helped Kenya and other forces in the region by attempting to destabilize the Al Qaeda-linked group, according to Kenyan officials.

More: Al Shabaab threatens revenge on Kenya

A resurgence of airstrikes, possibly by the U.S. or France, killed a number of Al Shabaab militants in recent days, The New York Times reported. Kenyan authorities also placed responsibility on the French navy for the shelling of a Somali town near an Al Shabaab stronghold.

Officials from the U.S. and France have not confirmed their involvement in Somalia. The U.S. has already expanded its drone war into East Africa for the purpose of targeting Al Qaeda affiliates in Somalia, with bases in Seychelles, Djibouti and Ethiopia.

More: Al Shabaab bomb kills 65 in Somalia

But Kenya’s advance deep into Somalia has some analysts worried about the risks of retaliatory attacks in Kenya from Al Shabaab, according to CNN.

France’s announcement to support Kenyan troops came the same day two blasts rocked Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, in what looked like an attempt to target Kenyans. The first attack on a Nairobi nightclub injured 13 people, and the second blast at a working-class neighborhood bus stop killed one person and wounded more than 20, Reuters reported.

Kenyan Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere told Reuters that there was no evidence of a direct link to Al Shabaab, but the group had threatened attacks in Kenya if its troops did not leave Somalia.

"The Kenyan public must understand that the impetuous decision by their troops to cross the border into Somalia will not be without severe repercussions," Al Shabaab stated, according to CNN.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/africa-emerges/kenya-official-us-france-join-fight-against-al-shabaab

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