The Kenyan Air Force has launched airstrikes on two Al Shabaab camps in Somalia in an apparent retaliation for the group’s recent assault at a Kenyan University that killed scores of students.
Kenya Defence Forces spokesman David Obonyo was quoted by Reuters as saying that the warplanes bombed the camps in the Gedo region along the border with Somalia, in an effort to stop militants from carrying out cross-border raids into the country.
"Our aerial images show that the camps were completely destroyed."
According to media reports, the camps were used by the extremist group to store weapons and for logistical support, and also to cross into Kenya.
However, al Shabaab’s Military operations spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab denied claims that its camps were hit by airstrikes, and noted that the fighter jets had instead struck farmland.
On 2 April, four masked gunmen stormed the Garissa University College, located 200km from the Somali border, killing at least 148 people mostly students, and injuring 79 others.
The al-Qaeda offshoot later claimed responsibility for the massacre, which is claimed to be the second deadliest attack on the Kenyan soil after the US Embassy bombing by al-Qaeda in 1998.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta had pledged to retaliate for the killings in the ‘severest way.’
Over the last two years, al Shabaab has killed more than 400 people in Kenya, citing it as a revenge for the country’s participation in an UN-backed African Union troop mission to counter it in neighbouring Somalia.
The latest attack triggered calls for the withdrawal of Kenyan troops from Somalia.
Kenyan Opposition leader Raila Odinga told Kenya’s Standard newspaper that the government should start exploring options about pulling out from Somalia.
However, Kenya’s State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu said: "When we were attacked (by al-Qaeda) in 1998, we were not in Somalia.
"So the idea that pulling out of Somalia will diminish our vulnerability to attacks is complete nonsense."