Kenya to probe civilian deaths in Somalia air raid - Pakistan Today

Kenya to probe civilian deaths in Somalia air raid

Kenya will probe reports of civilian deaths in an air raid against Somalia’s Shebab rebels, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said Tuesday, after an aid group said five people died in the attack. Kenyan warplanes struck a town in insurgent-held southern Somalia on Sunday in an offensive against the Shebab, which Nairobi blames for cross-border attacks and tourist kidnappings.
“If there is any death that has occurred as a result of the military operation, it will be investigated thoroughly,” Odinga told reporters. “It is not our intention to kill innocent civilians.” Aid agency Doctors Without Borders said five civilians, including children, were killed when a bomb hit a camp in Jilib hosting some 9,000 displaced Somalis. A regional Shebab commander put the death toll at 15 people, and vowed to avenge the attack.
Army spokesman Emmanuel Chirchir said 10 Shebab fighters were killed in the raid and claimed the civilian deaths occurred after a Shebab vehicle mounted with an anti-aircraft gun was hit and careered into a camp of civilians “on fire and laden with explosives.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross urged all sides Tuesday to respect civilian lives and said it had resumed food distribution to over 6,000 displaced people in the camp after a temporary suspension. “The ICRC and the Somali Red Crescent remind all parties to the conflict of their obligation to spare the civilian population,” ICRC Somalia chief Pascal Mauchle said in a statement. “All feasible precautions must be taken to avoid, and in any event to minimize, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects,” he added. Kenya sent troops and tanks into southern Somalia in mid-October to battle the Shebab and prevent the Al-Qaeda-linked rebels from attacking its territory.

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