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Al Shabaab promises to move war to Kenya

Friday, May 23, 2014 - 00:00 -- BY ADOW MOHAMMED AND DOMINIC WABALA
Al Shabaab militia during  a training session in Mogadishu, Somalia. Photo/Xinhua
Al Shabaab militia during a training session in Mogadishu, Somalia. Photo/Xinhua

The Al-Shabaab terror group has yet again threatened to bring its war to Kenya in retaliation for the presence of Kenya Defence Force (KDF) troops in Somalia. In a broadcast carried by media outlets affiliated to the militia, including Radio Andalus, the group vowed to carry out more attacks in this country.

“We will be shifting the war to Kenya. We will take the war to their doorstep, if they kill a Somali girl we kill a Kenyan girl," Fuad Mohamed Khalaf, also known as Fuad Shangole, told Radio Andalus in a broadcast. Khalaf is ranked second to Abdi Godane, the terror group leader.

"We are urging all the Muslims in Kenya to fight the government of Kenya inside that country, because Kenyans killed your people, including children," said the Somali-Swedish militant on whose head the United States has a US$5 million bounty. "When their soldiers and warplanes kill your people, God permits you to retaliate accordingly, we will fight the Kenyans," Khalaf said.

However, deputy KDF spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Njuguna dismissed the threats as nothing new from Al-Shabaab and said that it is unfortunate that operatives who do not speak for the Somali people can make such declarations.

"There is nothing new about what they have said because they have said it before. Kenya is in Somalia for good reasons and peace-loving Somalis appreciate what AMISOM is doing to bring peace to that country. We want Somalia's government to succeed. Such statements are made against the interests of their own brothers and sisters. It is not true that KDF is in Somalia to kills girls. That is propaganda," Lt Col Njuguna said.

Kenyan troops entered war-torn Somalia in October 2011 in hot pursuit of the militia group, following a string of terror attacks in this country. KDF has since joined the UN-mandated African Union AMISOM force, which has been fighting the Al-Shabaab and liberating towns under the terror gang's control. It is not the first time Al-Shabaab is threatening "to inflict pain" on Kenya. Last month they released a video vowing to make Nairobi a "bloodbath".

On Sunday, KDF fighter jets struck an Al-Shabaab base in Jilib, Middle Jubba region. According to KDF spokesperson Major Emmanuel Chirchir on Twitter, the Kenyan Air Force struck "a command and improvised explosive device-making compound". He said the air strikes destroyed "a main armory, food stores and a meeting place", leaving "unknown numbers of dead and many injured".

On Monday, Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for an ambush on a convoy in Mandera, where 12 officers were killed. "We have trained the people . . . they are the ones who carried out the Mandera attack," he said. "More are going to be sent soon," an Al Shabaab commander told the nuxur.com website.