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Kenya denies air raid on refugees

A Kenyan air strike has been blamed for killing five people at a refugee camp in southern Somalia and wounding 45 more, most of them children.

Kenya admitted carrying out an air raid but said it targeted only Islamist militants.

It blamed the Islamist al-Shabab group for the civilian deaths, saying one of them drove a burning truck of ammunition into the camp in the town of Jilib where it exploded.

It said the Kenyan air force hit the truck on Sunday as it drove away from an al-Shabab training camp and it caught fire. He accused the driver of attempting to use the refugees as a human shield from being bombed again.

But the Medicines Sans Frontieres charity said the aerial bombardment hit the camp for displaced people.

Residents said hundreds ran for cover as bombs exploded. The town's population has ballooned this year as about 1,500 families fled to the area amid a famine that has wracked the south. Residents reported that al-Shabab fighters were among the casualties.

Kenya sent troops across the border into Somalia in mid-October following cross-border kidnappings blamed on gunmen from southern Somalia.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said: "Our troops have not targeted civilians. It would be most unfortunate."


From Belfast Telegraph