Somali President Ahmed opposes Kenyan troop incursion

Kenyan soldiers talk as they prepare to advance near Liboi in Somalia, on 19 October 2011 The advance of Kenyan troops into Somalia has been delayed by bad weather

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Somalia's President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed has said his transitional government is opposed to Kenya's military incursion into Somalia.

Just over a week ago Kenya sent soldiers over its border into Somalia to pursue militants from the Islamist al-Shabab group .

It blames the insurgents for a spate of recent kidnappings near the border, which al-Shabab denies.

Nairobi said the deployment was done with the Somali authorities' approval.

For more than two years, President Ahmed's weak UN-backed interim government has been battling al-Shabab, an al Qaeda-linked group which controls much of south and central Somalia.

His government relies on a 9,000-strong Africa Union force for its security in the capital, Mogadishu.

Air raids

Speaking to journalists at the scene of recent fighting in Mogadishu, Mr Ahmed said Kenyan support in terms of training and logistics was welcome but his government and the people of Somalia were opposed to the presence of the Kenyan army.

The BBC's East Africa correspondent, Will Ross, says his comments put the Kenyan government in a very difficult position.

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It is possible that the Somali authorities have spoken out because they are opposed to the idea of Kenya helping to establish a semi-autonomous region in Somalia known as Jubaland, he says.

This is seen by some as the main aim of the Kenyan government's military incursion, our correspondent says.

Last week, a Somali general told the BBC his troops were working with Kenyan forces advancing from the border towards the port city of Kismayo.

On Sunday there were aerial bombardments on Kismayo, an economic stronghold of al-Shabab.

The Kenyan army told the BBC that a military base belonging to al-Shabab was hit, but the militants said no damage had been caused.

Kenyan army spokesman Maj Emmanuel Chirchir would not confirm whether Kenyan or other allied forces had carried out the raid.

He told AP news agency that the French navy had bombed the town of Kuda along the coast from Kismayo on Saturday night.

Last week, al-Shabab lost control of the coastal town of Ras Kamboni after attacks by the Kenyan navy and a local militia.

The French authorities said they had learnt last week that a Frenchwoman kidnapped from Kenya by Somali gunmen earlier in the month had died.

Other foreigners being held in Somalia include a British woman abducted from a coastal resort and a Kenyan driver and two Spanish aid workers seized from the Dadaab refugee camp near the Kenya-Somalia border.

Al-Shabab has threatened reprisal attacks in Kenya if the troops do not leave. Kenya's police chief says a grenade attack overnight in Nairobi which injured 12 people in a nightclub could not be linked to the militant group.

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