> Kenya: Army to Enforce No-Fly Zone Over
4 November 2011
The Kenya Defence Forces yesterday imposed a no-fly zone in the south
Somalia region of Baidoa after an unidentified plane overflew their
positions. This comes a day after three planes - suspected to have been from
Eritrea - delivered weapons in Baidoa for use by the al Shabaab. Eritrea has
since denied it was the source of the weapons.
Military spokesman Maj Emmanuel Chirchir said Kenya Defence Forces had
observed the aircraft overfly Kenyan troops in the three sectors through
which they had entered Somalia. "The owners of the aircraft are hereby
warned that KDF considers this as a security violation. Further unauthorised
overflying on the said region will be considered a threat. All aircraft are
hereby warned not to land in Baidoa. Anyone violating this will be doing so
at their peril," said Chirchir.
He said intelligence received from Baidoa indicated the weapons delivered to
the al Shabaab insurgents had been distributed to several towns - majority
of them being those targeted for aerial bombardment. Residents of Baidoa,
Baadheere, Badydhabo, Dinsur, Afgoye, Bwale, Barawe, Jilib, Kismayu and
Afmadhow were on Tuesday asked to leave the areas near al Shabaab camps in
these towns. They were also warned against habouring or assisting the al
Unconfirmed reports indicate that many residents who wanted to leave had
been stopped from doing so by the al Shabaab raising concerns that the
militia would use them as human shields. Four traders who attempted to
escape from an al Shabaab controlled stronghold of Elasha Biyaha near
Mogadishu were reportedly beheaded by the militia group and their bodies
dumped by the roadside, according to Reuters news agency.
Panic has gripped civilians after five others who were abducted by masked al
Shabaab fighters went missing. Al Shabaab fighters have mounted weapons on
high buildings and dug trenches to defend Kismayu and Afmadow from imminent
attack from the Kenya Defence Forces and Somalia's Transitional Federal
Government (TFG) troops.
The al Shabaab, which is linked to Al Qaeda, are also reported to be issuing
weapons to young students whom they have forced to join in the fight to oust
the TFG. Reuters news agency quoted a Kismayu resident Fatuma Ali, who lives
next to an al Shabaab military base, saying that the fighters had mounted
heavy weapons on all high buildings in Kismayu to defend the port city.
"They have put their weapons over us. Every high house in the city is a
defence for al Shabaab," Fatuma told Reuters.
Kenya has consistently reiterated its intention to attack Kismayu which is
used by the insurgents to import contraband goods and weapons and has
appealed to the international community to help blockade the port with
warships. Kenyan troops and their TFG counterparts have besieged Afmadow,
considered the transit point for contraband goods and which is under the
control of the al Shabaab. The strategy is to starve the militia of their
supplies before routing them out.
At least 18 suspected al Shabaab fighters drowned in the Indian Ocean after
Kenya Navy boats sank a skiff they were using to transport fuel to Kuday
Town on Wednesday evening. Heavy rainfall has continued in Southern Somalia,
making the movement of troops and militia difficult.
Chirchir said the al Shabaab have resorted to using donkeys to transport
their weapons and warned that the militiary will consider any large
concentration and movement of loaded donkeys as a target for attack. He said
the cost of donkeys had in recent days shot up from $150 (Sh14,400) to $200
(Sh19,200) for a donkey. "Kenyans dealing in the donkey trade along the
Kenya-Somali border are advised not to sell their animals to al Shabaab as
it would undermine our efforts in Somalia," he said.
The military launched the Linda Nchi Operation 14 days ago to pursue the al
Shabaab militia who have been accused of posing a security threat to the
country. The operation followed a series of incidents in which scores of
Kenyans including soldiers have been killed by al Shabaab making forays into
Kenya as well as the kidnap of tourists and foreign aid workers.
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Received on Fri Nov 04 2011 - 17:47:49 EDT