Kenyan forces repulse Al-Shabaab militants after fierce gun battle

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-11 16:20:30|Editor: Yurou
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MANDERA, Kenya, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan security officers on Monday repulsed a group of Al-Shabaab militants after a fierce gun battle in the border region of Mandera.

The militants were repulsed to neighboring town of Bulla Hawa in Somalia, Mandera County Commissioner Fredrick Shisia said.

The militants were said to be pursuing Somalia National Army (SNA) who have since Sunday night camped in Mandera town after Al-Shabaab attacked Bulla Hawa.

"Our forces are monitoring the situation closely as we prevent more spillover by the militants (from Bulla Hawa) to Kenya, but we have managed to contain everything," Shisia said.

Bulla Hawa is just about 2 km away from Kenya's northeast Mandera town, and there are fears of spillover of the fighting between the Somali army and the terrorists who want to take over.

A joint Kenya police and Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) are currently fighting the militants along the common border as they have hoisted their black flag in Bulla Hawa.

Heavy gunfire and bombs were rendered the air on Monday morning as Mandera residents opted to remain in their houses as fighting were going on in Somalia barley 2 km from Mandera.

"We have beef up security in Mandera town for fears of spillover from Al-Shabaab attack," the administrator said.

Locals said they can hear explosions and gunshots from the Somalia side.

North Eastern regional coordinator Mohamud Saleh said they fear there will be a spillover by 7:30 a.m. (0430 GMT), but nothing had happened in the Kenyan side. The fighting started at about 5 a.m. (0200 GMT).

"They have not come to Kenya but we fear they may spill over there. We have a standby force to counter the fighting," Saleh said.

Bulla Hawa residents said the militants launched two attacks with the first one targeting a Somali military base outside Bulla Hawa and the second on police station.

The residents said the militants detonated suicide car bombs on both targets amid fierce fighting between the insurgents and the Somalia army.

Al-Shabaab militants said their forces are now controlling Bulla Hawa town after killing dozens of Jubaland soldiers.