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NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) who are battling in southern Somalia have killed 73 Al-Shabaab militants and recovered 40 guns as military operation to flush out insurgents intensifies in the Horn of Africa nation.
KDF spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir said on Thursday that the battle which took place in Fafahdun in southern Somalia on Wednesday night also left two Kenyan soldiers dead as KDF intensified the onslaught to reach the strategic port city of Kismayo.
"KDF successfully resisted Al-Shabaab attack. A good number of Al-Shabaab are dead," Chirchir said in his Twitter account in the engagement that lasted several hours in southern Somalia.
Chirchir said more than 1,000 Somali militants attacked a strongly defended location occupied by the Kenyan soldiers but were repulsed. He said six Al-Shabaab lorries were recovered during the battle.
The development comes as the military has stepped up security along the common border with Somalia following an outbreak of fighting between the government forces and the Al-Shabaab militia.
The Kenyan forces currently under the command of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) are dealing with specific targets against the Al-Shabaab, but security has been stepped on the Kenyan side of the border.
"Our mandate is to specifically deal with Al-Shabaab but not the civil war in Somalia," Kenya's Department of Defence spokesman Bongita Ongeri told Xinhua last week.
Al-Shabaab has vowed reprisal attacks in the country, mainly targeting security forces in border towns of northern Kenya where dozens of people have been killed in landmine and grenade attacks blamed on the militant group.
Al-Shabaab has said it views the presence of Kenyan troops in southern Somalia as an act of war.
The group which has teamed up with global terror network al Qaida is now vowing an all-out war in Kenya, in protest against the military incursion "against our brothers" in Somalia.