Somalia

Somali insurgents issue Kenya attack threat

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Nairobi_(dpa) _ Somali insurgents have said they will take their fight to Kenya if the neighbouring nation carries out a plan to train Somali government troops.

Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minster Moses Wetangula recently offered to provide training to around 10,000 troops currently taking a hammering in Somalia's bloody Islamist insurgency.

"We will order all our holy warriors to start the jihadi war inside Kenya," the BBC quoted spokesman Sheikh Muktar Robow as saying.

Almost daily battles have blighted Somalia since Ethiopian troops invaded in 2006 to kick out the Islamist regime and put the transitional federal government back in power.

Islamist insurgents have since fought back, taking over the key port town of Kismayo and hammering Ethiopian, government and AU peacekeeping troops.

Burundi last week sent 800 further peacekeepers to the Horn of Africa nation, but the force is still well short of the 8,000 originally envisaged.

Civilians have borne the brunt of the fighting, with aid agencies now estimating almost 10,000 have died since the insurgency began in early 2007.

The main insurgent group al-Shabaab is believed to have strong links to al-Qaeda, which has carried out previous terrorist attacks on Kenyan soil.

Over 200 people died and more than 4,000 were injured in Kenyan capital Nairobi and Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam in coordinated bomb attacks on United States embassies carried out by al-Qaeda on August 7, 1998.

Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, a member of al-Qaeda believed to be the key architect of the 1998 attacks, is thought to have taken refuge in Somalia.

A 2002 suicide bombing on an Israeli-owned hotel in the Kenyan coastal town of Mombasa also claimed 15 lives.

Somalia has been plagued by chaos and clan-based civil war since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled in 1991. dpa ml wjh

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