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Report: Somalia

Al-Shebab displays Kenyan prisoners in southern town

AFP/AU-UN IST Photo
Text by: Mohamed Sheikh Nor in Mogadishu
4 min

Al-Shebab fighters in Somalia on Sunday publicly displayed two soldiers they claim are Kenyans, captured during skirmishes that left five people dead last month after a cross-border attack.

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Al-Shebab fighters displayed the two prisoners to thousands of people gathered in southern Somali town of Jilib.

Al-Shebab - who are they?

The Islamists used vehicles mounted with loudspeakers to order residents to participate in the event before they paraded the two prisoners in front of the crowd.

Witnesses told RFI that they saw two handcuffed Kenyans in worn-out clothes in the middle of the crowd as the fighters were giving a scornful look to the prisoners.

Opinions about the prisoners in the town are split.

Some sympathise with their plight while others are indifferent, regarding them as invaders.

Kenyan forces are not neutral in their dealings with the Somali clans so they have to pay the heftiest price, said Mohamed Adam, is one of the residents who witnessed Sunday’s event.

” I have seen with my own eyes, two Kenyan prisoners who were paraded by the Islamists and really I don’t feel any sympathy for them because they invaded our motherland and started siding with one clan,” he said.

Audio report - Kenyan soldiers

The two men were abducted last month along with rifles and ammunition allegedly captured at the time.

Al-Shebab has previously demanded the release of Islamist prisoners held in Kenya in exchange for the freedom of the Kenyan hostages.

Al-Shebab has been fighting since 2007 to topple Somalia's weak central government and has long been accused of destabilising the border area between Kenya and Somalia.

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