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Kenyan fighter jets kill 80 militants

The attacks were made at two bases belonging to Islamist al-Shabaab insurgents in Somalia.

FILE: A screen-grab of Al-Shabaab fighters. Picture: CNN.

MOGADISHU - Kenyan fighter jets attacked two bases belonging to Islamist al-Shabaab insurgents in Somalia and killed at least 80 militants, African Union peacekeepers there said on Monday.

Al-Shabaab rebels denied any of its fighters were killed.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), whose soldiers launched a new offensive against al-Shabaab this year, said Kenyan planes carried out the raids on Anole and Kuday in the southern Lower Jubba region. It did not say when they took place.

"The air strikes in Anole left more than 30 al-Shabaab fighters dead, three technical vehicles and one Land Cruiser loaded with ammunition destroyed," AMISOM said. More than 50 rebels were killed in the Kuday raid, it added.

Responding to the AMISOM statement, al-Shabaab's spokesperson for military operations Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab said the group did not have any bases in the area of the raids, which it said took place on Thursday.

"Only pastoralists were around there and luckily no goat was injured, let alone a civilian," he said.

Kenya first sent its troops into neighbouring Somalia in 2011 after several attacks inside its territory that it blamed on al-Shabaab, and later joined the peacekeeping force.

The militants have since carried out a string of assaults to punish Kenya for its intervention. Al-Shabaab fighters killed at least 67 people in a raid on a Nairobi shopping mall last year.

AMISOM said al-Shabaab had lost control of more than 10 major towns in the new push by African troops, including soldiers from Uganda, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Burundi and Sierra Leone.