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“They told residents through their radio to loot a Kenyan ship that washed up on the coast, but instead the residents who rushed there were attacked by helicopters,” she said. “Some of them have died but I don’t know how many. The situation is tense and many are fleeing. It’s a dangerous situation.”

The commander of the U.N-backed African Union troops, Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti, said that more of the soldiers were headed to Kismayo to reinforce those that stormed ashore. He said the aim is to “liberate the people of Kismayo to enable them to lead their lives in peace, stability and security. Operations are ongoing to neutralize targets in Kismayo.”

Odula reported from Nairobi, Kenya. Jason Straziuso contributed from Nairobi, Kenya.