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President Uhuru Kenyatta mourns deaths of soldiers in Somalia

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has mourned the death of nine soldiers who were killed after the vehicle they were traveling in was hit by improvised explosive device (IED) near the Somalia-Kenya border on Sunday.

Kenyatta said the deceased who were part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) gave their lives for their country and vowed never to relent until al-Shabab terrorists are flushed out of Somalia.

"Earlier today, I was appalled and saddened to learn that we had lost nine young patriots to a cowardly terrorist attack in Somalia.

"These men gave their lives for their country, and for peace; we must, and we will, honour their service, their sacrifice and their valor," he said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The soldiers were returning to Dhobley town near the Kenya-Somalia border through Dagalema route from Dadaab in northeast Kenya when their vehicle was hit by the IED.

The IED suspected to have been laid by al-Shabab militants massively damaged the military vehicle which was part of a convoy.

Two other soldiers who sustained serious injuries during the incident have since been airlifted to Wajir in northeast Kenya for specialized treatment.

Kenyatta said the mission for which the deceased gave everything will continue until the "evil terrorists of al-Shabab are defeated, and the people of Somalia are safe once more."

"We owe victory to the fallen. You may be sure we will win, for we have right and might on our side. May God rest the souls of our warriors, and may he grant their families the courage to bear this loss," said Kenyatta.

Dhobley town is located at the Somali border with Kenya and is one of the towns which have enjoyed relative peace in the southern Somalia.


Eight Kenyan soldiers killed, two injured in explosive attack in Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Eight Kenyan soldiers were killed and two others seriously injured after an improvised explosive device (IED) hit a military vehicle near the Somali town of Dhobley on Sunday.

Military officials in both Kenya and Somalia on Monday confirmed the attack, which happened at about 4 p.m. local time.

The Kenyan soldiers are part of the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM). They were returning to the town near the Kenya-Somalia border through the Dagalema route from Dadaab, in northeast Kenya.

The IED damaged the military vehicle the Kenyan soldiers were riding in.

One official from the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) confirmed that the attack killed eight and injured two.

"The lull witnessed in the recent past points to al-Shabab planning phase to deploy IED in the upcoming Ramadan period.

"Based on the past experience, al-Shabab deploy IEDs in the theater by consignments and it’s very likely that similar consignments have been deployed to other MSRs (main supply routes)," the Kenyan official added.

The official said the two soldiers who sustained serious injuries have been airlifted to Wajir in northeast Kenya for specialized treatment.

Somali officials in Gedo region also confirmed the incident, saying several KDF soldiers were injured.

Al-Qaida-allied militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying its fighters killed 15 Kenyan soldiers.

Gedo residents said the military vehicle was in a convoy on patrol when it was hit by a massive explosion.

"I saw the bodies of eight Kenyan soldiers and two others badly injured in the explosion," said a Somali military official.

Dhobley town, located at the Somali border with Kenya, is one of the towns which have enjoyed relative peace in southern Somalia.

Kenyan police arrest couple over al-Shabab links

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan police said on Monday that they are holding a couple suspected to be financiers and logistical operatives for al-Shabab militant group.

The police said the 42-year-old Yassin Abdille Hussein, also known as Abu Sumeiya, and his wife, Fartun Mohammed Guleid, 41, were arrested in Eastleigh residential estate in Nairobi.

The two are believed to be accomplices of a key al-Shabab operative in Mandera, Abdiweli Mohamed Guleid, who was the mastermind of a November 2014 attack on non-Muslims on a bus, the police said in a statement.

The couple, who have various businesses whose finances are channeled to supporting militant activities, left Gedo region in Somalia and has been operating in Kenya using fake documents.

An inquiry on how they were able to open businesses and operate in the country under false documentation is also under investigation, with initial reports indicating that the two have been channeling funds to Guleid for over five years now.

Meanwhile, police are said to be hunting down five wanted terrorists from Wajir, in northeast Kenya, who are said to be operating under the command of Guleid.

"Our field officers are pursuing the suspects to effect their arrest. We however suspect they may have crossed over to Somalia to avoid capture. We therefore call upon members of the public to continue being vigilant and report in case they are sighted anywhere," the police statement said.

United Nations expert calls for release of abducted children in Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- A United Nations human rights expert on Friday called for the immediate release of all children kidnapped or recruited as fighters in armed conflict in Somalia.

Bahame Tom Nyanduga, the UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, also condemned recent terrorist attacks in the country and urged action to stop use of children in armed conflict.

"The abduction of children by the al-Shabab group and their recruitment and use by government security forces in the armed conflict constitute a grave violation of the children’s rights," Nyanduga said in a statement issued in Mogadishu at the end of a six-day mission to assess the human rights situation in the country.

He however lauded Somali government for measures taken so far to rehabilitate children captured in combat, and for recognizing that such children were victims.

The rights expert urged the authorities to act now to stop children being used in the fighting, calling on the government to build rehabilitation centres to address the plight of children associated with al-Shabab.

He also wanted to see a strengthening of the justice sector, in particular the police, judiciary, related ministries and other institutions crucial for underpinning security sector reforms.

The UN rights expert welcomed action by both the government and the international community to reduce loss of life from famine, but made clear that more had to be done urgently to help thousands of people forced to leave their homes because of flooding.

"The government must commit itself to addressing this recurring problem by adopting a range of durable solutions, including the relocation of victims to higher ground," the expert said.

He lauded the government for some human rights improvements, including ending the practice of executing in public those convicted of terrorism-related offences, but made clear there was still much more to be done to improve human rights generally in Somalia.

"There has been a considerable improvement in the right to freedom of expression and opinion compared to the previous year, but I am still receiving reports of harassment, intimidation, arrest and detention without trial of journalists. I call on the government to ensure respect for the right of freedom of expression and opinion, and a free media," the expert said.



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