Kenya says attack by Somali militants thwarted in Garissa

AP News
Posted: May 22, 2015 9:31 AM

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Kenyan forces fought suspected al-Shabab members in a village close to the northeastern town where a massacre of college students took place last month, according to the interior ministry.

The ministry said in a statement Friday that the security forces on Thursday evening "thwarted an attempted attack" after the residents of Yumbis village, Garissa county, spotted armed militants in the area and alerted the authorities.

"Security forces swiftly mobilized and engaged the militants in a gun battle," the statement said, adding that there were no casualties.

The ministry later posted a Twitter update saying the security forces had ambushed an al-Shabab "mob" that had been harassing Yumbis residents for food and water. No more details were given.

Al-Shabab, which has ties with al-Qaida, has launched several attacks inside Kenya in retaliation over Kenya's military involvement in Somalia, where the Kenyan military is part of African Union forces battling the militants.

Despite being driven out of many of its strongholds in Somalia over the years — and losing many of its top leaders in U.S. air strikes — the Islamic extremist group is still able to carry out lethal attacks across the country and over the border in Kenya, which shares a porous border with Somalia.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for an April 2 assault on Garissa University College, the deadliest militant attack on Kenyan territory with 148 people killed.

Kenyan officials are reportedly pondering the construction of a wall along the border with Somalia as part of the government's efforts to stem the attacks.