Kenya isn’t messing around. You push them and they will push back harder.
Kenya has bombed two Al-Shabaab camps in Somalia in the first major military response to last week’s attack by the militant group on a Kenyan university that left 148 people dead.
Air force jets blitzed compounds in Gondodowe and Ismail, both in the Gedo region bordering Kenya on Sunday, a Kenya Defence Forces source said today.
Cloud cover made it difficult to establish how much damage the bombings caused or estimate the death toll.
‘We targeted the two areas because according to information we have, those (Al-Shabaab) fellows are coming from there to attack Kenya,’ the source said.
Kenyan army spokesman, Colonel David Obonyo, later said: ‘The two targets were hit and taken out, the two camps are destroyed.’
Gunmen from the Al Qaeda-aligned group killed 148 people on Thursday when they stormed the Garissa University College campus, some 200km (120 miles) from the Somali border.
Kenya has struggled to stop the flow of Al-Shabaab militants and weapons across its porous 700km border with Somalia.
Al-Shabaab militants have killed more than 400 people in Kenya since April 2013.
An African Union peacekeeping force that includes Kenyan troops carried out arrests and seized ammunition in an Al-Shabaab camp in Gondodowe last August.
News of the bombings came after it was claimed Kenyan special forces took at least seven hours to respond to the brutal massacre at Garissa University.
Elite troops were called in from Nairobi to Garissa, some 225miles from the capital, to aid in the pre-dawn attack on the university, but soldiers did not arrive until the afternoon, local media claims.
The critique comes as one of the four gunmen responsible for the brutal mass-murders has been identified as a lawyer son of a Kenyan government official.
Government representatives have defended the long response time, comparing fighting terrorism with being a goalkeeper as ‘they only remember the one you missed’.
Kenya’s elite Recce Company in Nairobi were called in as soon as the first reports of Thursday’s attack emerged, which took place around 5.30am at Garissa University College.
However, as troops were flown in from the capital, help did not arrive at the scene until just before 2pm, Kenyan newspaper Nation reports.
‘This is negligence on a scale that borders on the criminal,’ the Nation wrote in its editorial on Sunday, recalling how survivors said ‘the gunmen, who killed scores of students with obvious relish, took their time.’
Some journalists based in Nairobi who drove to Garissa after hearing the first reports of the attack arrived before the special forces, who came by air.
Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed defended the slow response time to the massacre, where 148 people were killed, using a football analogy.
‘Fighting terrorism is like being a goalkeeper,’ she said.
‘You have 100 saves and nobody remembers them. They remember that one that went past you.’
Interior ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka also dismissed the criticism.
‘If you look at how we responded it was not bad at all, say, compared to Westgate,’ he told the Nation.
‘It takes time to assess and make the decisions, escalating it from National Security Advisory Committee to the National Security Council and then to scramble the elite units, get them to the airport and fly them to Garissa which is a two hour flight. There were many moving parts.’
Yesterday, the interior ministry revealed the identity of one of the four gunmen responsible for the massacre on Thursday.
Abdirahim Mohammed Abdullahi was the son of a government chief in Mandera County, Interior Ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka said.
The chief had reported his son missing last year and said he feared that he had gone to Somalia, said Njoka.
Abdullahi graduated from the University of Nairobi with a law degree in 2013 and was viewed as a ‘brilliant upcoming lawyer,’ according to someone who knew him.
It is not clear where he worked before he disappeared last year, Njoka said.
On Saturday, the decomposing bodies of Abdullahi and his three accomplices accused of carrying out the brutal massacre were paraded in front of a large crowd at a primary school.
Read more: dailymail.co.uk