Somali Islamists parade Kenyan hostages

AFP , Friday 13 Jan 2012

Somalia's Shabab militants capture Kenyan soldiers fighting against their insurgency, parade them Friday in Bardhere, southern Somalia

Somalia's Islamist Shabab insurgents paraded Friday two Kenyan hostages kidnapped in revenge for Nairobi's troop deployment against the Al-Qaeda-linked group, rebels and witnesses said.

Heavily armed Shabab fighters drove the pair on a pickup truck around the streets of Bardhere in the southern Somalia's Gedo region chanting "God is great," witnesses said.

"These people were captured from the enemy during a raid carried out inside Kenya by mujahideen fighters," said Sheikh Ali Abu-Aweys, local commander of the Al-Qaeda linked Shabab in Bardhere district.

"The fighters will continue carrying out such attacks to hunt down the enemy until they fully withdraw from our holy territories," he told AFP by telephone.

Hardline Shabab insurgents killed at least six Kenyans including four police officers in an attack Wednesday in Kenya's northeast, about 10 kilometres (six miles) from the Somali border late Wednesday.

The insurgents also kidnapped three people believed to be local government officials, Kenyan police said.

"I saw two hostages on a pickup truck, they looked depressed... heavily armed men were guarding them as people watched them in the streets," said Mohamed Ismail, a witness.

Some witnesses said Shabab gunmen ordered local telecommunication companies to switch off their systems during the display.

The shooting and kidnapping on Wednesday was the latest in a string of attacks in northeast Kenya in the three months since Nairobi sent troops into Somalia to fight the Shabab.

Regional armies are pushing against Shebab positions in Somalia, with Kenyan forces in the far south, Ethiopian soldiers in the west and African Union forces in Mogadishu made up of troops from Uganda, Burundi and Djibouti.

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