31 March 2010

Kenya: Al-Shabaab Attacks National Territory

Nairobi — A joint police and military force was on Wednesday deployed to Liboi in Garissa District following an incursion by Somalia's al-Shabaab.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe confirmed the team was despatched from Nairobi to assess the situation and provide reinforcements.

He confirmed that General Service Unit (GSU) officers there were engaged in a fierce gun battle with the rebels, but said there were no casualties.

Other sources, however, claimed a grenade was thrown into the GSU camp, injuring some officers.

Al-Shabaab, which has links with the al-Qaeda terror network, has besieged the transitional government in Somalia and also harbours territorial ambitions against Kenya.

Reports by AFP quoted an unnamed "top Kenyan police official" saying an unknown number of officers were injured.

"There was an attack at about lunch hour. A group of heavily armed men opened fire and injured officers," AFP said, adding:

"They are suspected to be Shabaab militants from Somalia. But they are being pursued. We are yet to receive more details on this incident but no deaths on our side have been reported. A number of our officers are wounded."

The militia has in the past threatened to attack Kenya, which backs the Horn of Africa country's government. In recent years, the extremist fighters have carried out cross-border kidnappings.

Three foreign aid workers were kidnapped by Somali gunmen last year in towns near the border region.

Kenya, which shares a long and porous border with Somalia, has frequently expressed fears that al-Shabaab suicide bombers would strike its territory.

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