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Kenyan troops strike key Al-Shabaab town
Daily Nation
Monday, February 20, 2012

Kenyan troops intensified attacks on Al-Shabaab in Somalia with air strikes on a key rebel settlement at the weekend.

They carried out air strikes in Xhwayo Town, 30 kilometres from Belles Qoockani Town on their way to Afmadow.

The commander of Kenya’s forces in central Somalia, Lt Col Jeff Nyagah, said Al-Shabaab insurgents had concentrated most of their logistical material and war tanks in southern Somalia.

“We have not estimated the damages caused by the attack,” Lt Col Nyagah said.

Kenyan forces went into Somalia last year in an attempt to crush the Al-Shabaab militia group that was accused of abducting tourists and civil servants besides grenade attacks in the country.

On Sunday, Lt Col Nyagah said they had noted an increase in population in the towns that had been liberated by the Kenya Defence Forces.

He cited Hosingow and Dhobley as towns whose populations had risen after being liberated.

He said that in the recently liberated Hosingow, the population had increased from 150 to 500 people.

Relief food

“More people had abandoned their homes due to the drought and the fighting that marked the first phase of the operation, but they are now returning,” he said.

Care-Somalia and the World Food Programme have moved to the towns to provide relief food. The Fying Doctors have also moved to the area.

“The families are being given food coupons of $100 (Sh8,300) to buy the supplies not provided for by the food donors,” he said.

At the same time, President Kibaki will lead a high-powered Kenyan delegation to a conference on Somalia in London.

Top officials from more than 40 countries and multi-lateral organisations converge in London on Thursday to craft a new international approach to Somalia.

The leaders will discuss how the international community can step up its efforts to tackle the root causes and effects of the problems in the country and find a way forward after expiry of the Somalia Transitional Federal Government (TFG) term in August.

Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetang’ula, who arrived from Turkey on Sunday, said Internal Security Minister George Saitoti, Defence Minister Yusuf Haji and himself would be part of the delegation to London.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi are also slated to attend the conference.

Governance structure

Mr Wetang’ula said Somalia leaders had come up with a structure to be used to govern the country when the TFG term ends.

The troubled Horn of Africa country is to adopt federalism with devolved units and a strong apex at the top, Mr Wetang’ula said.

The minister was hopeful the UN Security Council would approve Kenya Defence Forces plans to join the African Union forces before the London meeting.


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