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Official: 3,000 extremists killed by Kenya

Oct. 11, 2012 at 12:17 PM

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Kenyan military forces have killed more than 3,000 al-Shabaab fighters since entering Somalia a year ago, the Somali defense minister says.

Defense Minister Yusuf Haji revealed the casualty figures Wednesday during a ceremony in Nairobi leading up to the first anniversary on Sunday of Kenyan troops entering Somalia, the Nairobi newspaper The Star reported.

During that same period, Haji said, Kenyan forces lost 22 soldiers and officers and a helicopter.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, speaking in Kampala, Uganda, where he was holding talks with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, called for insurgents who had surrendered to forces of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to be demobilized, disarmed and reintegrated into Somali society.

Adding that Kenya had no intention to be an occupying force in Somalia, Kibaki called for an extension of the AMISOM mandate that expires at the end of the month.

More than 77,200 square miles of Somalia have been liberated from al-Shabaab, said Gen. Julius Karangi, Kenya's chief of general staff.

Haji cautioned that although al-Shabaab is no longer in control of southern Somali, it has not stopped being a threat. The extremist group will probably return to being a local insurgency, he said, and AMISOM would have to adapt its tactics to respond to the change.

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