Minister dares al-Shabaab to retaliate

Oct. 18, 2011 at 7:49 AM
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NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- A Kenyan minister expressed confidence in the success of his country's military mission to Somalia despite threats of reprisals from a radical network.

Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula told the BBC he wouldn't be intimidated by threats issued by al-Shabaab, an offshoot of al-Qaida, and that the Kenyan military mission would succeed in Somalia "because we have the capacity."

Al-Shabaab has vowed to wage an all-out war against the Kenyan military and threatened to hit main targets in the country's capital, Nairobi, Capital FM reported Monday.

"Let them try," Wetangula said. "Kenya has the capacity, [the] ability and the will to defend its people and its territory. ... The consequences will be dire for anyone who thinks that they can now walk in and out of Kenya to lay mischief with impunity."

Wetangula said Kenya was equipped to deal with any attack on its territory as it works to "have a secure frontier with Somalia."

"I don't think al-Shabaab have the capacity to engage Kenya in an open-ended conflict, I don't think so at all," he said.

Kenyan military forces moved into Somalia Sunday to expel militants from regions under their control near the Kenyan border.

Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir, who is with the military offensive, told Capital News Kenyan forces were pushing deeper into Somalia Tuesday to seize a rebel-held town. He said forces were expected to take full control of Afmadow region, about 75 miles from the border.

Kenyan Defense Minister Yusuf Haji said troops would maintain their efforts to fight Somali militants, blamed for a number of kidnappings since 2009.

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