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France to help supply Kenyans fighting in Somalia

NAIROBI — France’s embassy on Monday denied that French naval vessels had carried out any attacks in Somalia, but a military spokesman said France would soon help supply Kenyan troops fighting al Qaeda-linked militants.

Col. Thierry Burkhard said French transport planes will fly supplies from Nairobi to an airport in northern Kenya, but he insisted that the operation would be “limited in scope.”

A Kenyan military spokesman on Sunday said France’s navy bombed a town in Somalia near a stronghold of al-Shabab. But the French Embassy on Monday denied that claim, saying no French warships are in the vicinity.

Col. Burkhard said there was “no French operation in Somalia.”

The Kenyan military sent troops into neighboring Somalia about 10 days ago to pursue the militants after a string of kidnappings on Kenyan soil that were blamed on Somali gunmen.

Al-Shabab has threatened to launch suicide bombings inside Kenya in retaliation, and the U.S. Embassy warned late Saturday than an imminent terrorist attack is possible.

A grenade attack that wounded a dozen people at a downscale Nairobi pub early Monday heightened those fears.


U.S. envoy to Myanmar begins second visit

YANGON — The special U.S. envoy to Myanmar began his second visit in less than two months Monday amid hope that the country’s new government is serious about political reform.

Derek Mitchell will be in Myanmar for two days and will meet with democracy movement leader Aung San Suu Kyi, senior officials including Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin, and representatives of civil society, said Darragh Paradiso, the State Department spokeswoman for East Asia and Pacific affairs.

Mr. Mitchell said last week after Myanmar released about 200 political prisoners that Washington sees encouraging signs of openness in the country, which was under direct military rule for decades until this year.