Somali officials accuse Kenya of targeting civilians in retaliation to Mandera attack
Mogadishu (Harar24) – Somali government authorities have accused the Kenyan forces of targeting civilians in air and artillery strikes on villages located near the Somali-Kenyan border, which is believed to have been a retaliation to the recent Mandera bus attack.
Yusuf Kanti, the district commissioner for Beled-Hawo, who spoke to media outlets, accused the KDF of bombarding villages near the border where civilians and their livestock have been killed. “Throughout Sunday to Monday morning Kenyan forces based at the border village of Khadija Haji have bombarded Somali villages, through the use of warplanes and artillery” he said. “So far at least one person has been confirmed dead and two others injured. On top of that numerous of their livestock, which they depend on, have been killed” the commissioner added.
On the other hand, the Kenyan vice-President William Ruto claimed Kenyan forces killed hundred Al-Shabaab fighters who were involved in the Mandera bus attack in airstrikes on the Somali side of the border, a claim which was denied by the group, who in a statement claimed their fighters were safe.
However district commissioner Yusuf Kanti stated that the Kenyan airstrikes didn’t target Al-Shabaab but rather Somali herders in the area and their livestock. “Everybody in the area knows where Al-Shabaab bases near the border are located, but we don’t understand why Kenya chose to attack civilians. These strikes have now created a crisis and the mass fleeing of civilians in the area” he said.
The Kenyan forces, which invaded parts of south Somalia in late 2011 and later joined the AMISOM, have in the past been accused of conducting airstrikes inside Somalia resulting many a times in civilian casualties which have often been brushed aside by Kenya, who claim to target only Al-Shabaab in their strikes.