/ 31 October 2011

Somali refugees killed in Kenyan air raid

A Kenyan air raid at the weekend that struck a camp hosting thousands of displaced Somalis has killed five people, after two victims succumbed to their injuries, an aid official said Monday.

A bomb on Sunday hit the camp, in the southern town of Jilib, where some 9 000 internally displaced children have sought refuge.

Kenyan military spokesperson Emmanuel Chirchir said on Sunday they bombed a camp of the extremist al-Shebaab militia, against whom they launched a cross-border offensive two weeks ago.

The Kenyan military denied it had killed civilians, but Gautam Chapperjee, who heads the Doctors Without Borders mission in Somalia, said the latest death toll was five.

“The total death death is five now, according to figures we have. That would be three children, one woman and a man,” he said.

A woman died while on her way for surgery in a hospital on the capital Mogadishu, while another patient died at a local clinic in the area, Chapperjee said.

Forty-four people were being treated at an MSF-run clinic in southern Somalia, the aid official said.

Kenyan troops are battling the Al-Qaeda-inspired al-Shebaab, accusing them of attacks and kidnappings of foreigners on its territory. The al-Shebaab have denied the charges and warned Nairobi of reprisals.

Chapperjee said the insecurity has forced them to halt some operations.

“We had to pull out our team from Jilib yesterday because of this insecurity,” he said. “So today the nutrition clinic and cholera centre are closed.”

“We will re-open as soon as things are a bit safer for our staff there.” — AFP