March 27, 2017 / 10:43 AM / in 5 months

Kenyan forces kill 31 al Shabaab militants in Somalia: statement

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan troops in Somalia killed 31 Islamist al Shabaab militants in a raid on two of their bases in the southern Somali region of Jubbaland, the Kenyan military said on Monday.

The East African nation has thousands of its forces in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to help curb al Shabaab and improve security as part of a reconstruction drive after two decades of civil war that shattered the country.

"Ground troops were supported by attack helicopters and artillery fire," the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) said in a statement about Sunday's raid on al Shabaab bases in the Baadhade district of Jubbaland.

Al Shabaab denied that any of their bases had been attacked by Kenyan troops. There was no immediate comment from the Somali government.

Kenyan forces also captured arms, including 11 AK-47 assault rifles, communications equipment and uniforms, the KDF said.

Kenya sent troops into Somalia in 2011 after a series of attacks on Kenyan soil by the al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab.

Reporting by Duncan Miriri and Humphrey Malalo, editing by Ed Osmond

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