Got three words for the Kenyans: Don't do it.
Conflicting accounts emerged Thursday over whether the extremist group Al-Shabaab has signaled a desire to negotiate with Kenya amid a Kenyan military offensive targeting the group.
"They want to talk," said a Kenyan official who did not want to be named because he is not authorized to talk to the media.
A spokesman for the Kenyan government, however, disputed that account and said Kenya wouldn't talk with Al-Shabaab even if the group did want to negotiate.
"Al-Shabaab has not contacted Kenya in any way," said the spokesman, Alfred Mutua. "There are no plans whatsoever for Kenya to negotiate with Al-Shabaab. Kenya does not negotiate with outlawed groups."
He said Kenyan troops have enjoyed success since crossing the border into Somalia to pursue Al-Shabaab, which the United States and several Western nations view as a terrorist organization.
"They are running scared. I think they are busy running for their lives," Mutua said. "They don't have time to talk."
Kenyan troops struck several Al-Shabaab training sites in Somalia early Thursday, a military spokesman said. The militant group, which includes many rival factions with different leaders, operates from Somalia.
The group's leaders were said to be reaching out for possible negotiations two weeks after Kenyan troops stormed into Somalia to hunt for Al-Shabaab, which Kenya blames for recent kidnappings of foreigners in the nation.
It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it. Kenya seems to be having an unusual amount of success against the terrorists, probably because Shabbab had been operating with impunity in Somalia for so long they never thought anyone would come in and try to root them out.
The threat of some retaliatory strikes against Kenya is always there. But it's a risk/reward operation with breaking the back of Shabbab perhaps worth the threat.