Boy killed in border town blast
Posted Sunday, March 20 2011 at 19:35
A seven-year-old boy was killed while two others were injured in a mortar shell explosion in Mandera.
The explosive, suspected to have been left behind after fighting by Somali factions, went off as fighting broke out in Dhobley, another border point, sparking fears that the battle could extend into Kenya.
The explosion happened on Saturday at noon, when the boys, who were playing in an open field, came across the shell and one of them picked it up. He died in the blast.
The other two sustained serious injuries and are being treated at Mandera district hospital.
North Eastern police chief Leo Nyongesa warned Kenyans living along the border with Somalia to keep off any suspicious objects and report the presence of any to the authorities.
“After the intense fighting between al-Shabaab and forces allied to Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government in Beled Hawo, the possibilities of such dangerous things being left carelessly on our soil are high,” said Mr Nyongesa.
However, residents of Mandera Town believe the explosive was left behind by Ethiopian forces who they say used the town as a launch pad in their attack against al-Shabaab.
The government has denied allowing foreign troops to launch attacks from Kenya. The incident happened in Geneva Estate, which is close to the Kenya-Ethiopia border.
The weekend explosion brings the number of civilians injured in a week in Mandera to seven, even after fighting stopped in neighbouring Beled Hawo.
In Dhobley, the Somali Transitional Federal Government forces and their ally, the Ras Kamboni Brigade, are battling radical Islamist al-Shabaab militants.
The government troops attacked the al-Shabaab controlled town in the early hours of on Sunday.
Although neither side has issued a report on the fighting, residents are said to be fleeing to all sides, particularly to the Kenyan border town of Liboi.
Earlier on Saturday, the Ras Kamboni Brigade seized Deef, a township also in Lower Juba region, near the Kenya-Somalia border. Al-Shabaab loyalists left the area without resistance.
Meanwhile, in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, government forces are about to confront militias loyal to a rebel movement known as Sool, Sanaag and Cayn (SSC).
The flashpoint is Kalshale around the border of Somaliland and Ethiopia.