America

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Kenyan troops guarding border with Somalia


Kenya is boosting its border forces on the Somalia border as reported here:
Kenya sent extra troops to its border with Somalia on Wednesday to keep Islamic militants from entering the country after Ethiopian helicopters attacked a Kenyan border post by mistake while pursuing suspected fighters.
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Kenya has deployed troops, armored vehicles and trucks with light weapons along the 400-mile border with Somalia. A U.S. counterterrorism task force has trained new coast guards and recently gave Kenya three patrol boats.

The U.N.'s humanitarian agency said about 4,000 Somali refugees were reported to be in the Dhobley area, unable to cross into Kenya. The agency gave no further details, but noted fears of newly laid land mines in southern Somalia following the latest fighting.

In nearby Liboi, UNHCR said it was trying to check reports Kenya had held 350-400 Somalis at the border since Dec. 27. "We can't confirm it because we have been denied access to the reception center by Kenyan security personnel," spokeswoman Millicent Mutuli told The Associated Press.

Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua denied that security personnel had blocked U.N. refugee agency staff from getting to Liboi, but said border officials had instituted "rigorous security vetting" to ensure no fighters slipped in among the refugees. Only those that cleared the security check would be handed over to U.N. refugee officials, he said.

Somalia's government and its Ethiopian allies have long accused Islamic militias of harboring al-Qaida, and foreign Islamic radicals - including Pakistanis, Arabs and Chechens - are believed to have come to Somalia to fight on behalf of the Islamic movement in recent months.

Three suspects wanted by the United States in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa are believed to be leaders of the Somali Islamic movement. (emphasis added)

Islamic movement leaders deny having any links to al-Qaida.
Well, of course they would.

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