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February 19, 2012

Kenya's Military Presses Advances Against Al-Shabab

by Gabe Joselow

VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from Liboi, Kenya, on the border with Somalia, where al-Shabab militants block roads, preventing food aid from being delivered.

I’m in a Kenyan military base in Liboi, Kenya, near the border with Somalia, where the Kenyan military is waging war against al-Qaida linked militant group al-Shabab.

Kenyan military officials here say, at this point, the operation would start in October. The military’s objective is mainly to pacify regions that were previously under militant control.

We have just returned from one such town which is called Kabda in southern Somalia which Kenyan forces secured last year. Local forces here say they welcome the Kenyan forces for bringing security to the area, but they say al-Shabab continues to block roads into town, so that’s preventing food aid from being delivered.

While we were there, Kenyan forces did bring in some sacks of flower and some other very basic provisions to people there, but the area is pretty much untouched by humanitarian agencies.

Meantime, Kenya is preparing to join up with the African Union’s Amison force, which has been protecting the rest of Somalia, and if that does happen, they will be taking on a broader role to provide security throughout the country, and to prop up the country’s transitional federal government.