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Church blast kills child in Kenya

After Kenyan soldiers pushed al Shebab rebels out of Kismayo, Somalia, attacks in Kenya have claimed the lives of a child and two policemen. Residents of the abandoned Somali town eagerly await the arrival of troops.

A child was killed on Sunday in a grenade attack on a church in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. At least six others were injured in the attack.

News agency AFP has reported that most of the injured were children attending a Sunday school class at St. Polycarp's church in Eastleigh, in an eastern district of the city.

While no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, Islamist al Shebab sympathizers have been suspected in a number of kidnappings and grenade attacks across Kenya over the past year.

Police targeted

Elsewhere, two Kenyan policemen were shot dead. The police officers were patrolling a city near the border with Somalia and were killed by gunmen suspected to be al Shebab sympathizers.

"The two officers were gunned down while on patrol," a police officer told the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity. "Their rifles have been taken away. We highly suspect these are al Shebab sympathizers."

Police are urging residents to be vigilant and watch out for possible revenge attacks by supporters of al Shebab on Kenyan soil.

Kismayo in disorder

Kenyan warships shelled the southern port of Kismayo, Somalia, on Sunday. This comes two days after sea, air and ground forces bombarded the city, forcing the Islamist rebels out.

The continued shelling is believed to be an effort to route out any remaining pockets of resistance.

Kenyan and Somali troops have been sent to retake Kismayo, but they have thus far only progressed as far as the outskirts. According to Kenyan military spokesman Col. Cyrus Oguna, they are proceeding carefully to ensure they are not being lured into a trap by the rebels.

"The troops are consolidating and making plans to expand into the southern part of the city," Oguna told Reuters news agency. "A lot of caution must be exercised here. We don't want to get into a situation where we start to lose troops here and there."

While rebels are believed to have fled to surrounding forests, an al Shebab official did warn that, although the rebels have ceded control of Kismayo, they were still set to fight allied troops once they enter the city.

Since their retreat on Friday, lawlessness has reigned in the town. Residents are caught in an awkward situation in the chaos of the power vacuum. Gunmen, for example, have already killed at least three civilians in the town, according to the AFP.

tm/ccp (AFP, dpa, Reuters)