News / Africa

Somali President Warns Against Kenya Raid

Somalian President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed [2nd L with stick] walks with officials and army commanders of the Somalian transitional government at the front line in Deynile district, in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, October 24, 2011.
Somalian President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed [2nd L with stick] walks with officials and army commanders of the Somalian transitional government at the front line in Deynile district, in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, October 24, 2011.

Somalia's president says his government opposes Kenya's military incursion to chase down al-Shabab militants.

Speaking to reporters in Mogadishu, President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said only African Union troops can legally operate in Somalia. The president said Somali government troops do need support from Kenya's military, but he added, "not more than that."

Sharif cautioned Kenya against doing anything that will harm the two countries' relationship.

Separately, the French embassy in Kenya has refuted media reports that France carried out attacks in the Somali city of Kismayo.

On Sunday, a Kenyan army spokesman, Emmanuel Chirchir, indicated foreign forces had joined Kenya's pursuit of al-Shabab, and said a French naval ship bombed the southern Somali town of Kuday, near the al-Shabab stronghold of Kismayo.

The embassy said Monday there are no French warships in the area.

Warplanes have carried out airstrikes in Kismayo in recent days, but it is not clear who was responsible for the attacks.  

The Kenyan army spokesman said the airstrikes were done by allies. But no nations, including the United States, have confirmed involvement in the Somali operation.

Kenya sent troops into Somalia this month to hunt down al-Shabab fighters, who it blames for a string of foreign kidnappings on Kenyan soil.  Al-Shabab has said it had no role in the kidnappings.

The militant group, which is fighting to topple the Somali government, has threatened to retaliate against Kenya.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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