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Three Kenyan peacekeepers killed, five injured by al-Shabaab gunman in Somalia

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The Kenyan military has confirmed the killing of three of its soldiers who were members of a peacekeeping mission to Somalia by an al-Shabaab gunman who infiltrated their military base.

According to an official of the Kenyan army, the attack which occurred on Monday at the Sarira Forward Operating Base in the Lower Jubba region of southern Somalia near the border with Kenya, also saw five soldiers injured by the lone attacker who fired indiscriminately, before he was gunned down by other soldiers.

Kenyan troops who are deployed to Somalia under the banner of the African Union, are active along the border with Somalia.

But other peacekeepers from Burundi and Uganda are based in or near the Somali capital of Mogadishu, the seat of the federal government.

A senior Kenyan officer who did not want to be identified as he does not have the authority to speak, said the lone gunman must have taken advantage of the ongoing World Cup in Qatar to infiltrate the base.

“We believe the lone wolf was testing the ground for more such incidents. We must be more careful and vigilant.

“It is at this time the militants know we might let our guard down as we watch the World Cup.

“As we near the festivities, we need to be very vigilant of our surroundings. The terror threat is still rife and all measures should be taken to tame any plan,” he said.

Al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda-allied armed group has been fighting in Somalia for more than 10 years, seeking to topple the country’s central government and establish its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

So far, the group has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and security officials despite being driven out of the capital in 2011 and still control a large chink of the country’s countryside.

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Rwanda accuses US of inflaming crisis in eastern DRC

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The government of Rwanda on Tuesday, accused the United States as well as the international community of ‘exacerbating and inflaming’ the crisis in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The accusation was made by the Foreign Affairs Ministry after the US urged Kigali to stop any support for the M23 rebels who have a base in a Rwandan territory.

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, had in a telephone call on Sunday to Rwandan President Paul Kagame, said “it was clear that all external support to non-state armed groups in the DRC must end, including Rwanda’s support for M23.”

But in a press release published on Tuesday, the Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vincent Biruta, affirmed that Paul Kagame and Anthony Blinken “had had good exchanges but that differences remain on the understanding of the problem.”

“The erroneous approach of the United States and the international community continues to exacerbate the problem in the east DRC.

“Rwanda’s security problems must be taken into account… M23 should not be equated with Rwanda,” Biruta said.

The crisis in eastern DRC between government forces and the M23 rebels which is made up of mainly Tutsi ethnic group, a predominant tribe in Rwanda, has continued to heighten tensions between the two neighbours with the DRC accusing Rwanda of supporting and encouraging the militia, accusations Kigali has always denies.

Rwanda on its part, has often blamed the crisis in eastern DRC on authorities in Kinshasa and accused the international community of turning a blind eye to DRC’s support for the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a rebel group made of Rwandan Hutus who were involved in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

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Somali forces, local vigilantes, recapture strategic town from Al-Shabaab terrorists

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The Somali National Army (SNA), alongside local vigilantes popularly called Mo’awisley, on Monday, recaptured the strategic city of Adan Yabaal from the al-Shabaab terrorist group, the military said in a bulletin on Tuesday.

According to the statement, the town located near the border between Hiran and Middle Shabelle regions that comprise Hirshabelle State, which is about 220 kilometres north of the capital Mogadishu, is one of the five federal member states of the Federal Government of Somalia, and had been a strategic location held by the al-Qaeda-sponsored extremist group.

The SNA said in the bulletin that it met no resistance from the al-Shabaab fighters who left the town without posing resistance on getting information about the approach of the federal troops.

Al-Shabaab have lost most of the towns and settlements in Hirshabelle State, both Hiran and Middle Shabelle regions, after the SNA and Mo’awisley vigilantes waged offensive wars.

“Mo’awisley vigilantes, who are mainly composed of nomadic herders, took up arms and rebelled against the jihadists’ confiscation of their livestock and illegal tax collection known as zakawaat.

“Over the last couple of weeks, the government forces and the vigilantes have been gradually inching towards the town which they seized on Monday. The town had been under the full control of al-Shabaab for over a decade,” the bulletin said.

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