Blast hits Kenya army truck near Somalia border

Reuters , Thursday 24 Nov 2011

Kenyan forces attacked in Somalia as they take part in an international armed offense against Al-Shebab militants within the borders of their poorer neighbour

A blast struck a Kenyan military truck in Mandera on Thursday, the army said, the latest in a spate of attacks on Kenyan security forces along the border with Somalia since the east African country sent troops across the frontier.

Kenyan Colonel Cyrus Oguna told Reuters the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device, and that the army was checking whether there were any fatalities or wounded.

"It was an IED. Were going to confirm the extent of damage. It hit a lorry carrying personnel. Right now there are no details of fatalities or wounded," Oguna said.

Leo Nyongesa, the police commander for North Eastern province in which Mandera town is located, told Reuters no soldiers had been killed in the incident, but some had been wounded.

Kenya has been plagued by a wave of attacks since it sent hundreds of soldiers into neighbouring Somalia last month to crush the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shebab militant group.

Local media said 11 troops were wounded in the attack on the truck, and that they were being airlifted to the capital, Nairobi.

Local residents said security forces had sealed off the area around the blast site.

Mandera is in Kenya's sparsely populated far northeast, close to the porous borders with Ethiopia and Somalia.

Kenya, the region's biggest economy, is the latest of a string of foreign powers to try to stabilise Somalia, which has been mired in violence for two decades.

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