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Kenya pushing forward against al Shabaab!

Interesting Article: France helps Kenya in Somali attack / Nairobi published Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kenyan military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir said the French navy bombed the town of Kuday near the southern al-Shabaab stronghold of Kismayo on Sunday. In Somalia's south, others braced for fierce battles as Kenyan soldiers closed in on a militant-held town in their week-long effort to defeat the al-Shabab group blamed for suicide bombings, kidnapping foreigners and killing famine victims. US officials said last week the US had been pressuring Kenya to "do something" in response to a string of security incidents along the Kenya-Somalia border, but Kenya's invasion of Somalia had taken the US by surprise. Somalia has been a failed state for more than 20 years, and the lawless country is a haven for pirates and international terrorists. Al-Shabab fighters have been waging a war against the weak Somali government for more than five years, but now face attacks on two fronts.

A force of 9000 African Union peacekeepers from Burundi and Uganda has been aiding the Somali forces. African Union forces already have pushed the militants from their last base in the capital, Mogadishu. The Kenyan military sent troops into neighbouring Somalia one week ago to pursue the militants, following a string of kidnappings on Kenyan soil that was blamed on Somali gunmen. Al-Shabab has threatened to launch suicide bombings inside Kenya in retaliation, and the US warned an attack was possible. On Monday, Somali President Sharif said only African Union troops can operate legally in Somalia, and cautioned against Kenya doing anything to harm the two countries' relations. Deputy Speaker Moallim says Kenya has the right to defend itself.  He also said Kenya's intervention is aimed at curtailing the danger presented by al-Shabab, and stopping the huge flow of Somali refugees into Kenya. Kenyan forces have launched airstrikes in Somalia and advanced close to al-Shabab-controlled towns but have yet to fight a major ground battle with the militant group. Al-Shabab is fighting to topple the U.N.-backed Somali government and set up an Islamic state in Somalia.  The group has lost ground to Somali government and African Union troops in recent months but still controls considerable territory in southern and central Somalia. Ethnic Somalis in Nairobi prepared for a possible backlash on Tuesday after explosions in the Kenyan capital following the country's military foray into Somalia. Two grenade blasts killed one person and wounded more than 20 on Monday, two days after the U.S. embassy warned of an imminent attack in the east African country. The new threat to Kenya, when al-Shabab threatened to level Kenyan skyscrapers and carry out suicide bomb attacks like ones that killed 76 people in Kampala, Uganda in July 2010. Kenyan police this week sent out a terrorist attack warning and increased security at some downtown sites, including Nairobi's Somali neighborhood. In an effort to assist some of the African nations, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday pledged $100 million in food aid to drought-hit East Africa amid warnings that millions of people face starvation, mostly in lawless Somalia. The United Nations estimates that more than 13 million people are in need of food assistance in East Africa. The region is suffering from its worst drought in years, which some experts’ link to climate change. The worst-hit nation by far is Somalia, where tens of thousands of people are believed to have already died. The country has effectively lacked a central government for two decades, with the Islamist group controlling much of the country. Al Shabaab was recently involved in several high profile kidnappings, which brought this action from Kenya, sadly, France said Wednesday that the cancer-stricken quadriplegic Frenchwoman kidnapped off a Kenyan resort island appears to have died in captivity in Somalia, prompting Kenya to call the death an act of terror against the East African nation and France. Somali gunmen snatched Marie Dedieu in the middle of the night from her resort island home near Lamu on Oct. 1. The 66-year-old, wheelchair-bound woman suffered from cancer and required special medications several times a day, medicine her captors did not take with them. Kenya's tourism minister, Najib Balala told AP that Kenya sent in troops to push militants back from the country's tourist destinations, like Lamu, because they were creating instability and affecting the economy. Balala said the government was responding to the attacks. As the Kenyan incursion continues, it is yet to be seen what al Shabaab would do, but it is great to hear that Kenya is at least taking an interest and looking to eradicate this organization once and for all.

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