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Al-Shabaab warns of Kenya terror attack

Sunday February 27 2011

Veiled protestors hold the flag of Somali rebel group al Shabaab during a demonstration outside the Jamia Mosque in Kenya's capital Nairobi on January 21, 2010. Photo/FILE

Veiled protestors hold the flag of Somali rebel group al Shabaab during a demonstration outside the Jamia Mosque in Kenya's capital Nairobi on January 21, 2010. Al-Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Dhere on February 27, 2011 accused the Kenyan Government of being behind “the trouble” in some Somali regions bordering its territory. Photo/FILE 

By ABDULKADIR KHALIF Nation correspondent in Somali

Radical Islamist group al-Shabaab has warned of a “revenge” attack against Kenya for aiding the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia.

Sheikh Ali Mohamoud Raghe alias Sheikh Ali Dhere, the al-Shabaab spokesman on Sunday accused the Kenya Government of being behind “the trouble” in some Somali regions bordering its territory.

He pointed a finger at Juba and Gedo regions, south and southwest of Mogadishu, respectively.

“Previous warnings to Kenya were nothing compared to this one,” said the al-Shabaab official. “We are going to retaliate against it (Kenya), harshly,” he declared.

He accused Kenya of assisting the pro-government forces in their attacks against al-Shabaab positions.

About 600 Somali soldiers training in Kenya have been moved to a camp in Elwak in Mandera awaiting deployment into Somalia as war escalates between government forces and insurgents. (Read: Blast at Mandera hospital as border clashes rage)

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They were relocated to the camp in two groups of 300 in Kenya military trucks over the past one week ahead of possible deployment to reinforce the TFG soldiers in Bullahawa town in Somalia, the Nation has learnt.

And in Mandera, the Kenyan military upgraded its alertness on the border to “amber” as fighting between al-Shabaab and the TFG forces, who are assisted by the African Union, continued on the fifth day.

The government has sent more personnel to the Kenya-Somalia border to stop al-Shabaab militia from crossing into the country.

The military has also cautioned parents living along the border with Somalia to watch out for al-Shabaab members who are recruiting youth to go and fight in Somalia.

“We have heightened security along the border and soldiers are on the lookout in case of any spillover from the fighting in Somalia.

“We are aware of Kenyan youth being lured by promises of large sums of money to go and fight alongside al-Shabaab in Somalia,” Department of Defence Spokesman Bogita Ongeri said on Sunday.

“We cannot allow the militia nor their associates on our soil, as they are a threat to humanity,” Mr Bogita added.

Meanwhile, thousands of refugees have been fleeing from areas close to the border. (Read: Fresh wave of Somali refugees flee to Kenya)

Kenya Red Cross Society spokesman Titus Mung’ou said the society has identified a camp that will accommodate 500 households of about 3,000 refugees.

Two Cabinet ministers from North Eastern Province said 35,000 residents had been displaced due to the fighting.

Mr Mohamed Elmi, the Minister for the Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands and Mr Mohammed Mohamud, the assistant minister for Energy, warned of a humanitarian crisis unless adequate security measures were put in place.

Additional reporting by Dominic Wabala, Issa Hussein and Hassan Huka