by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Oct 24, 2011
France is providing limited logistical support to Kenya's offensive against Islamist rebels in Somalia, the defence ministry said Monday, formally denying a French warship had bombarded the Somali coast.
"Following a request from the Kenyan authorities, we are providing logistical support with a Transall (transport plane) that is taking Kenyan material from Nairobi to an airport in northern Kenya," near the Somali border, ministry spokesman Thierry Burkhard told AFP.
The support will be provided up to Tuesday and is "limited in space and time, within Kenyan territory," Burkhard said.
"I formally deny" reports that a French warship had taken part in a bombardment of the Somali coast as had been claimed by a Kenyan military spokesman, Burkhard said.
Nairobi sent soldiers across the border a week ago to hunt the Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab fighters it blames for the abductions on its soil of a British tourist, a disabled French woman and two Spanish aid workers.
Kenya warplanes on Sunday targeted the Shebab-held Somali port city of Kismayo as troops advanced on the insurgents.
The military has not said how many of its troops are deployed, but analysts estimate the number at between 2,000 and 3,000.
US House panel to scrutinize Uganda deployment
The House Foreign Affairs Committee said it would hold a hearing Tuesday to examine Obama's decision to help local forces battle the rebel-led Lord's Resistance Army "in relation to US law and US interests."
The panel hoped to hear from Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Alexander Vershbow.
Obama has said the US force will act as advisors to partner Ugandan forces trying to remove from the battlefield Joseph Kony and other senior leaders of the LRA, which has been accused of gross human rights abuses. He said the American troops would not lead the fighting themselves.
The mostly special ops units are to deploy in Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, subject to approval of regional governments, Obama said in a message to Congress.
LRA rebels are accused of terrorizing, murdering, raping and kidnapping thousands of people in the four nations, and tens of thousands of people died in their 20-year war with security forces in northern Uganda.
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Sudden drop in Somali arrivals in Kenya: UNHCR
Geneva (AFP) Oct 21, 2011
The UN refugees agency said Friday that the number of Somalis fleeing to Kenya's Dadaab camp was falling, likely either due to military operations at the border or strong rains in the region. "In the Dadaab refugee complex in eastern Kenya, we are seeing a sharp drop in the number of new arrivals from Somalia. This could be due to the border military operations or the onset of heavy rains in ... read more
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