Thursday, December 4, 2014 7:25 pm
A Kenya military plane crashed Thursday in war-torn southern Somalia, the army said, blaming “technical problems”, while the Shebab fighters boasted they had shot it down.
Kenyan troops entered southern Somalia three years ago to fight the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab rebels, later joining an African Union force.
They have carried out recent heavy air strikes against Shebab bases in southern Somalia after the extremists carried out a string of attacks inside Kenya including two recent massacres of over 60 people.
The Kenyan warplane “while returning from a combat mission in Jamaame, southern Somalia, developed technical problems and crashed in the general area of Kismayo,” Kenyan army spokesman Colonel David Obonyo said in a statement.
But after the Kenyan military statement, Shebab spokesman Abdiaziz Abu Musab told AFP his fighters had shot the plane down.
“We have destroyed the fighter jet and the body of the pilot,” Musab said.
It was not possible to independently verify the reports.
The Shebab are fighting to overthrow the country’s internationally-backed government.
After they executed 36 non-Muslim quarry workers in a Kenyan border town on Tuesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to “intensify the war on terrorism”, calling the Islamists “deranged animals” and blaming them for the death of more than 800 Kenyans.
The Shebab in turn warned they would be “uncompromising, relentless and ruthless” in further attacks.