Somalia: Kenyan army ‘kills 52 Al-Shabaab fighters’
The Kenyan army says it has killed 52 Al-Shabaab fighters during an attack on one of the group’s camps in Somalia.
Military spokesman Col. Joseph Owuoth said Kenyan forces, which are operating under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), destroyed the camp in Badhadhe region of Lower Jubba on Friday morning. He added that various kinds of weapons had been seized during the attack.
’52 extremists killed’
“Following the operation, the initial assessment indicates that 52 terrorists were killed while others fled with injuries,” the military said in a statement last week. Al-Shabaab is yet to release any kind of statement about the attack but the group is known for tweaking casualty numbers in its favour.
The attack comes after the US relaxed regulations on conducting airstrikes in Somalia and deployed troops in the Horn of Africa nation for the first time since 1994. Meanwhile, Somalia’s new president has sworn to increase the country’s efforts to defeat Al-Shabaab.
Concerns for Somali residents
While the US ramping up its efforts against Al-Shabaab is good news for Somalia’s political elite, there are concerns about what it might mean for the country’s people. Sending a few dozen troops into the country will have little impact on the war but increased airstrikes will cause more damage. The concern is over what and who will be damaged as a result of the strikes.
Last week the US was accused of destroying a mosque in Syria during one of its airstrike drills – something the US has since denied. However, it wouldn’t be the first time innocent civilians have been killed in US airstrikes and the concern for Somalia is that it might not be the last.
The country is also facing another war; this one against drought conditions that Somali and international organisations are struggling to cope with. UN experts inside the country have emphasised the point that now is not the time for military action.
Featured image: By Unknown – Unknown, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11854957