September 17, 2011 — The sound of aircraft and heavy explosions was
heard around Somalia's Islamist controlled Kismayo region in the south
of the conflict-torn country, residents said on Friday.
The blasts late Thursday in a jungle near the port town of Kismayo
followed several overflights by suspected military planes.
"We heard planes flying over Kismayo and minutes later there were at
least three explosions," local resident Mohamed Ali told AFP by phone.
"I think the planes fired missiles because there were also sounds of
anti-aircraft weapons fired by the Shabaab fighters," Ali added,
referring to the Al-Qaeda linked rebels that control huge swathes of
Abdikarim Samow, another resident, said he heard explosions and saw
"The aircraft fired heavy missiles into a jungle area where the Shabaab
established training camps, but we don't know more," Samow said.
Other residents confirmed the explosions, but it was unclear who was
In June, residents and Islamist rebels reported similar explosions
The United States has in the past conducted several raids on southern
Somalia, targeting senior regional Al-Qaeda figures.
In January 2007 a US air raid left dozens of people dead in Ras Kamboni
in the far south of the country. One of the presumed targets was
Al-Qaeda's chief in east Africa Fazul Abdullah Muhammad, who survived
the raid but was gunned down at a roadblock in Mogadishu in June this
The Shabaab recently pulled out of the capital Mogadishu.
On Thursday, Somalia officials and residents said Kenyan helicopter
gunships fired missiles around Elwak region near the Kenyan border.
"Kenyan forces carried out aerial bombardment on several locations near
the border where terrorist militants are likely to be hiding, but we
don't have details about the incident," Somali government official Salad
The Kenyan army was not reachable for comment.
But a Shabaab commander told AFP that their fighters were not in the
area targeted by the Kenyan forces.
"The mujahideen fighters were not there when the Kenyan aircrafts fired