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Kenyan military says border security stepped up over Somali clashes
Wednesday, August 08, 2012

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Kenya's military has stepped up security along the common border with Somalia following an outbreak of fighting between the government forces and the Al- Shabaab militia, a military spokesman said.

Kenya's Department of Defense (DoD) Spokesman Bogita Ongeri said the Kenyan forces currently under the command of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) were dealing with specific targets against the Al-Shabaab, but security had been stepped on the Kenyan side of the border.

"Our mandate is to specifically deal with Al-Shabaab but not the civil war in Somalia," Ongeri told Xinhua on telephone on Tuesday following Somali media reports of an intensified fighting in Qanser-Dheere in the Bay district, which left 18 people dead over the weekend.

Somali media said the troops under the command of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) came under fierce artillery fire from suspected Al-Shabaab militants, but responded to fire, killing 17 militants.

"We have beefed up our security. The Kenyan borders are safe," Ongeri affirmed.

Somali militants have stepped up bomb and grenade attacks on Kenyan non-military targets in the recent past.

Ongeri said it was not clear if the current clashes in Southern Somalia were linked to tribal warfare, but warned that such fighting were beyond the mandate of the Kenyan Defense Forses (KDF) operating under the AMISOM banner.

Somali leaders are currently engaged in plans to end the transitional government and move towards the creation of a more permanent authority to govern the Horn of African nation.

Somali leaders, meeting in Nairobi, signed an accord to work towards the ending of the current TFG regime, which has been successful lately in battling the militant threat in the Horn of Africa nation.

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