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Kenyan police nabs 2 Britons at border with Somalia

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Laaska News Oct. 18,2011
NAIROBI, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) — Kenya’s authorities have arrested two Britons as they are believed to have connection with Somalia militant group al Shabaab as they crossed the common frontier into the lawless country, police confirmed on Tuesday.

Deputy Police spokesman Charles Owino said the two suspects of Pakistani and Somali origins were arrested on Monday and the authorities suspect the pair were coordinating the activities of the militant group.

“The police arrested two British citizens yesterday (Monday) while crossing into Somalia. The two are under investigation by the anti-terrorism unit and we suspect they may have been coordinating the activities of al Shabaab,” Owino told Xinhua by telephone.

“The two are of Pakistani and Somali descend,” Owino said. The arrest came as Kenyan troops advanced towards a strategic rebel- held Somali town of Ahmadow, 620 kilometers south of Mogadishu on Tuesday.

The motive of the pair’s mission in the Horn of Africa nation was not clearly known.

Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers, together with allied combatants from Ras Kamboni Brigade and units of the Kenyan military, were on Tuesday said to be headed there.

The development came as the east African nation vowed to sustain her military operation against Somalia’s militant group, al Shabaab, blamed for a spate of abductions of foreigners in the East African nation.

Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti said already security forces had drawn up elaborate plan to defeat al Shabaab in their own land despite threats issued by Islamic fighters who have warned of reprisals is such operation continues.

Security officers have been instructed to offer security escort to foreigners working in NGOs in the affected areas in the North Eastern and the Upper coast region of Hola, Tana River and Lamu,” the minister told the committee in Nairobi on Monday.

He also confirmed that Nairobi which has backed and trained some soldiers of Somalia’s fledgling government had beef up troops especially in northern Kenya and the coastal region to flush out the militant group.

The combined troops and tanks backed by the TFG soldiers crossed the border into war-torn Somalia Sunday to attack Islamist Shabaab rebels accused of kidnapping foreigners, who in turn warned Kenya that its soldiers faced the “pain of bullets.”

Kenyan authorities blame al Shabab for a series of recent kidnappings that could jeopardize Kenya’s status as a safe tourist destination.

Residents have reported seeing columns of 30 to 40 armored vehicles. The troops were reported Monday to be near the village of Qoqani, which al Shabab abandoned on Saturday.

Military spokesman Emmanuel Chirchir said the military operation will continue in the Horn of African nation until the al Shabaab fighters have been flushed out.

We are going to be in Somalia for long-term solution. We want to completely end the activities of al Shabaab,” Chirchir told Xinhua by telephone.

Al Shabaab which aims to topple the government in Mogadishu and establish Sharia has warned Kenyan soldiers, as they crossed the frontier to attack insurgent strongholds, that they would feel the “pain of bullets”.

The militia group has been charged to have in the recent past abducted four foreigners from inside Kenya undermining the economy of the country, adding that the militias abducted two military personnel who since July have not been unaccounted for.

The two Spanish women, Montserrat Serra, age 40, from Girona (Palafrugell) and Blanca Thiebaut, age 30, from Madrid, both working as logisticians for MSF in the Dadaab refugee camp were abducted on Thursday in Daddab refugee camp.

Aid agencies working in northern Kenya and in Somalia said the latest attack is jeopardizing the assistance to thousands of people in urgent need of humanitarian aid and a quick and satisfactory solution is necessary.

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Laaska News.