Kenyan airstrikes target Shebab after Garissa university massacre
Kenyan fighter jets pounded alQaida-linked Shebab insurgent camps in southern Somalia on Monday, the army said, days after the Islamists killed 148 people in their worst ever massacre in Kenya.
The airstrikes, which the army said destroyed two Islamist bases, came on the second day of national mourning in Kenya, and as security forces tried to hunt down those behind the university killings.
The massacre, Kenya’s deadliest attack since the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, claimed the lives of 142 students, three police officers and three soldiers.
“We bombed two Shebab camps in the Gedo region,” Kenyan army spokesman David Obonyo told AFP, without giving details about any possible casualties in the lawless region bordering Kenya.
“The two targets were hit and taken out, the two camps are destroyed.”
The airstrikes follow threats by President Uhuru Kenyatta that he would retaliate “in the severest way possible” against the Shebab militants for their attack on Thursday.
The Shebab gunmen launched the pre-dawn attack in Garissa, storming dormitory buildings before lining up non-Muslim students for execution in what Kenyatta described as a “barbaric medieval slaughter.”
Kenyan airplanes have made repeated strikes in southern Somalia since their troops crossed into their war-torn neighbor in 2011 to attack Shebab bases, with Nairobi later joining the African Union force fighting the Islamists.
“The bombings are part of the continued process and engagement against Al-Shebab, which will go on,” Obonyo added.
The Shebab fled their power base in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu in 2011, and continue to battle the AU force, AMISOM, sent to drive them out. It includes troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.