Kenyan killed in Somalia shelling


By Cyrus Ombati

A Kenyan man is among three foreign fighters who were killed in an air raid in KM-60 location of Lower Shabelle region, Somalia.

His identity was yet to be made public but Somalia and Kenyan intelligence officials confirmed he was a Kenyan and among the three who were killed on Friday as they were travelling towards Merca, the capital of Lower region when their car was hit.

Al-Shabaab confirmed in a statement a Moroccan migrant who went to Somalia in 2006 was also killed in the strike.

"Sheikh Abu Ibrahim, a Moroccan Muhajir was killed in the attack," the statement said.

US officials were quoted saying that the attack was carried out by a drone. Several Kenyans are believed to be in Somalia fighting for the militant group.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said they had been informed one of those killed had documents to suggest he was a Kenyan citizen.

"You are aware few Kenyans decided to go to Somalia to fight for the militant group. We will confirm his identity once further verification is done," he said.

Al-Shabab, which has been forced out of Mogadishu and faces military attacks on three sides, counts hundreds of foreign fighters among its ranks. It formally merged with al-Qaida this month.

US drones have killed Al Shabaab agents in the past. On January 22 a drone attack killed Bilal el Berjawi a British citizen of Lebanese descent fighting in Somalia.†

A Kenyan security agent aware of the operations said they had been informed that among those killed was identified as only Sakr who was an assistant to Berjawi an al-qaeda member from London and who was killed in a missile attack from a US drone while fighting alongside Islamist insurgents in Somalia last month.

Berjawi died when three missiles fired from the unmanned aircraft hit his car on the outskirts of Mogadishu mid January.

Berjawi grew up in west London, travelling to Somalia around three years ago. He was arrested in Kenya in 2009 with Sakr and deported to London.

Other sources said the Friday explosion came hours after the militants had held a meeting with another Al-Shabaab group led by Ahmed Abdi Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubair.

Godane’s group has been at war with other factions in the area over control of power since Al-Qaeda announced it had joined the militant group.

"There seem to be betrayal among these groups and they are selling each other. We can tell you the fighting between factions in Al-Shabaab is real," said a senior security official aware of the operations inside Somalia and who asked not to be named.

There had been claims that he helped oversee recruitment and training for al-Shabaab, which is fighting the weak UN-backed Somali government, and that he was a close associate of one of the masterminds of the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Observers say there are several hundred foreign fighters in Somalia, mainly clustered in training camps around the insurgents' stronghold of Kismayo.

Last week, six Kenyan Al-Shabaab fighters were arrested as they attempted to sneak into the country in Boni forest in Kiunga, Lamu County.

According to unconfirmed reports, Godane has a home in Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, where his wife and their children have lived since 2008. The reports also claimed he visited them twice in 2010, using a Kenyan passport with a different name to enter the country.

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