Somalia's al Shabaab fighters attack village in Kenya

Fri May 22, 2015 1:05pm GMT

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Militants from Somalia-based al Shabaab attacked a village in northeast Kenya but were beaten back by security forces, the Interior Ministry said on Friday.

It said the militants entered the village of Yumbis, 70 km (45 miles) north of the town of Garissa, late on Thursday.

"Security forces swiftly mobilized and engaged the militants in a gunbattle. No casualties were reported," a ministry statement said.

Al Shabaab, which has carried out frequent attacks in Kenya in recent years to try to force Nairobi to pull its troops out of Somalia, attacked a university in the same area last month and killed 148 people.

A police source in the area who did not wish to be named said the militants roamed Yumbis for an hour in two trucks bearing Kenyan registration plates. They hoisted their black flag on a mosque where they held prayers, before heading towards the nearby village of Damajale.

A combined force of police and the army drove them off, the source said.

Al Shabaab said on Friday its fighters were still in the village and had repulsed Kenyan security personnel.

"We fully control Yumbis village. Kenyan forces tried to attack the village but we drove them back," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab's military operations spokesman, told Reuters.

A senior government official reiterated that al Shabaab fighters had left the village.   Continued...

Members of Somalia's Al Shabaab militant group parade during a demonstration to announce their integration with al Qaeda, in Elasha, south of the capital Mogadishu in a file photo.  REUTERS/Feisal Omar
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