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Kenyan president vows al-Shabab will pay 'heavy price' for attack in Somalia

The promise comes after the militants killed dozens of Kenyan soldiers during an attack in southern Somalia on Friday.
By Fred Lambert Contact the Author   |   Jan. 19, 2016 at 7:28 PM

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said al-Shabab militants will pay a "heavy price" following an attack by the militants that killed dozens of Kenyan troops in southern Somalia last week.

Voice of America quoted Kenyatta, who spoke in a national broadcast Tuesday, as saying Kenya was "unbowed" by the Friday assault against an African Union base in Somalia's Gedo region.

An unconfirmed number of Kenyan troops perished in the town of El-Adde, but al-Shabab said it had killed more than 100.

"As I speak to you today, our defense forces are conducting intense search, rescue and recovery operations to make sure we bring home our fallen and our injured heroes that have been and remain our key priority," Kenyatta said. "We are determined and committed to pursuing those criminals who perpetrated this act and to ensure that they shall pay heavily for their crime. Our soldiers did not die in vain."

Al-Shabab is an al-Qaida-linked terrorist group that has for years operated out of Somalia. It has been known to conduct high-profile attacks in neighboring Kenya, including the 2013 assault on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi that ended with at least 67 people dead. Masked al-Shabab gunmen also killed nearly 150 people at Garissa University College last year.

The European Union released a statement Monday characterizing the Friday attack as "another attempt to undermine a political process towards a stable and secure Somalia and a population desiring a life in peace."

"Acts of terrorism will not deter our efforts," the statement read. "The EU will continue working with the Somali authorities, the AU and other partners to enhance stability and Somalia's capacity to fight terrorism."

Kenyan troops reportedly recaptured El-Adde without a fight on Tuesday after al-Shabab militants dissolved into rural areas around the town.

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