Kenyan ramps up security at Somali border, eyes al Shabaab

Sun Oct 16, 2011 8:24am GMT

By Noor Ali

ISIOLO, Kenya (Reuters) - The Kenyan government sent

troops and police to its northern border on Saturday and said it would hunt down Somalian al Shabaab insurgents after the kidnapping of two Spanish aid workers.

The two Spanish women, who were working for Medecins Sans Frontieres at the Dadaab refugee camp, were abucted on Thursday Police believe the kidnappers to be al Shabaab rebels but the al Qaeda-linked rebel movement has denied it was responsible.

"If we are attacked by the enemy, we have the right to pursue that enemy. "Defence Minister Yusuf Haji told a news conference. "We are trying to push al Shabaab as far away as possible from Kenya."

Residents at Liboi and Dadachabulla border towns told Reuters they saw more than 20 trucks ferrying soldiers and police officers. Units had also set up camps on the border.

Two war planes were also seen flying over the area.

"A convoy of army officers from Garissa, the police and border patrol officers at Dadachabulla have all moved to the border," said Ibrahim Mohamed Barre, a resident from Dadachabulla 12 km (8 miles) away from the border with Somalia.

"About five families left for Garissa an hour ago, I am sure many people will leave. We are worried. It's clear Kenya wants to fight al Shabaab. This place is no longer safe," he added.   Continued...

Members of the hardline Al Shabaab Islamist rebel group sit on a pick-up during a demonstration in Mogadishu, October 30, 2009.  REUTERS/Mowlid Abdi
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