Al-Shabaab briefly seizes border near Kenyan border

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-16 22:09:36|Editor: Song Lifang
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MANDERA, Kenya, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Heavily armed Al-Shabaab militants on Saturday morning overran a Somalia National Army (SNA) camp at Bula Hache, a few kilometers from Elwak town near the Somalia border with Kenya.

Both Kenyan and Somalia officials said the militants briefly seized the town before they later withdrew after a fierce gunfight that had begun on Friday night and ended on Saturday morning.

Kenya's Mandera South Deputy County Commissioner Daniel Bundotich said the militants overran the camp operating under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) before burning SNA belongings and rifles.

Somalia residents said the militants looted food aid, computers and seized some vehicles belonging to humanitarian agencies operating along the border.

Bundotich said Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) used aerial bombardment to free the camp from the militants in picking up trucks and battle wagons.

"KDF have managed to recapture the camp plus five armoured personnel carriers (APC) that the militants were trying to escaped with," said Bundotich.

"Our forces have managed to free the camp from the Al-Shabaab as they are our neighbours and saw it prudent to create a buffer zone along the border, " he added.

Residents in Elwak which is near the Kenyan border said the town fell into Al Shabaab hands after Somali government and Jubbaland forces withdrew from the town and fled towards Kenya.

The Somali residents said both sides engaged in hours of gun fight but the number of casualties has not yet been confirmed. Residents are in fear of possible counter-attacks.

The latest attack came after Al-Shabaab gunmen overran a police camp in Bula Hawa near Mandera town on Monday before Kenyan security forces recaptured it from the militants.