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Kenya: Dozens Killed in Southern Somalia

Kenyan soldiers talk as they prepare to advance near Liboi in Somalia (File)

The Kenyan military says dozens of Somali militants and at least 11 Somali government troops were killed in a battle a few days ago.

In a statement Tuesday, a Kenyan military spokesman said more than 40 al-Shabab fighters were killed and many others injured during intense fighting in the southern Somali town of Hayo.

Major Emmanuel Chirchir said Somali government casualties from the fighting totaled 11 dead, 54 injured. He said there were no Kenyan casualties in the clash.

Chirchir also said Kenyan fighter jets bombed two al-Shabab camps in the southern town of Afmadhow on Monday. But the military had not yet assessed the exact number of casualties or damage.

Hundreds of Kenyan troops entered southern Somalia in October to pursue al-Shabab, which Nairobi accuses of kidnapping foreigners on Kenyan soil.

Earlier this year, Somali government and African Union forces launched an offensive against the al-Qaida-linked group, driving the militants out of the capital Mogadishu. Al-Shabab still controls large sections of central and southern Somalia.

The militants say they are fighting to overthrow the Somalia's United Nations-backed government and impose a strict form of Islamic law.