Air strike hits Somali village, deadly bomb in capital

Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:45pm GMT
 

By Feisal Omar and Mohamed Ahmed

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - An unidentified fighter jet bombed the outskirts of a Somali rebel-controlled village in the south of the Horn of Africa country on Tuesday, killing at least one civilian, residents and members of the al Shabaab militant group said.

Local people said the village in the Gedo region, which borders Kenya and Ethiopia, was a known rebel haunt. The insurgents said none of their combatants were stationed in the strike zone at the time of the bombardment.

A Kenyan army spokesman said Kenya was not involved in the air raid and that he was unaware of any bombing in the area.

"A warplane struck the village of Yaqle. We don't know if there were any al Shabaab casualties, but the body of an elderly nomadic woman lay on the ground," Amina Ali, a nearby resident who rushed to the blast site, told Reuters.

Another witness, Mahmud Ali, said he heard a loud explosion from his home in El Ade about 4 km (2.5 miles) away and then saw a plume of smoke rise into the sky before he too went to Yaqle. He said he saw the woman's body.

Neighbouring Kenya sent hundreds of troops into southern Somalia more than five weeks ago to crush the insurgents it blames for a series of kidnappings on its soil and regular cross-border attacks. Its air force has launched a wave of strikes on what it says are rebel targets.

Ethiopia too sent dozens of military trucks and armoured vehicles into central Somalia over the weekend, witnesses said.

Some Ethiopian troops passed through towns in northeastern Kenya before crossing into Somalia through the Damasa border post, residents and officials in the area said. Damasa is about 25 km from Yaqle.   Continued...

Kenya troops move supplies from a helicopter at the Garrisa airstrip near the Somali-Kenya border October 18, 2011.  REUTERS/Gregory Olando
 
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