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30 Kenyan civilians killed on Somali border

 
 
 
 
 
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Members of Somalia's al-Shabab militant group parade during a demonstration to announce their integration with al-Qaeda in Elasha town, south of the capital Mogadishu, on February 13, 2012.

The Al-Qaeda-allied al-Shabab militant group is suspected of having killed at least 30 Kenyan civilians since Kenya’s government sent troops into southern Somalia to fight against the militants, Press TV reports.

Kenyan police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said on Saturday that the killings are believed to have been carried out by followers of the Somali militant group. He added that most of the attacks were carried out in towns on both sides of the border between the two nations.

Kenya has beefed up security along its border with Somalia since it dispatched soldiers over the border into the conflict-plagued country last October to pursue al-Shabab militants, which it accuses of being behind the kidnapping of several foreigners in its territory. However, al-Shabab has denied involvement in the kidnappings.

Somali President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed said his UN-backed transitional government was opposed to the Kenyan military incursion, which is reportedly being assisted by the United States and France.

Somalia has been without an effective central government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

The weak Western-backed transitional government in Mogadishu has been battling al-Shabab fighters for the past five years and is propped up by a 12,000-strong African Union force consisting of troops from Uganda, Burundi, and Djibouti.

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