News / Africa

Progress Claimed Against al-Shabab in Somalia

A soldier serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia takes up a defensive position in a fire fight during their joint AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) operation to seize and liberate territory from al-Shabab militants in Deyniile, Somalia, MayA soldier serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia takes up a defensive position in a fire fight during their joint AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) operation to seize and liberate territory from al-Shabab militants in Deyniile, Somalia, May
x
A soldier serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia takes up a defensive position in a fire fight during their joint AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) operation to seize and liberate territory from al-Shabab militants in Deyniile, Somalia, May
A soldier serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia takes up a defensive position in a fire fight during their joint AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) operation to seize and liberate territory from al-Shabab militants in Deyniile, Somalia, May
Peter Heinlein
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - African Union and Somali government troops are said to be nearing victory in a lightning offensive against al-Shabab insurgents northwest of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.

A statement issued Wednesday says African Union forces made “significant progress” in the first 24 hours of an operation in the strategic Afgoye corridor between Mogadishu and the regional capital of Baidoa.

The statement says a senior al-Shabab rebel commander was killed during the fighting and a convoy of cars in which he was traveling was destroyed. It gave no further details, but other top officials linked to al-Qaida have been the targets of drone strikes.

Somalia's Defense Minister Hussein Arab Essa told VOA the first stage of the AMISOM offensive is almost complete.

"They successfully conducted an operation where they inflicted huge damage to al-Shabab and al-Qaida and captured new territories toward Afgoye, and we are hopeful in next 24 to 48 hours we will capture Afgoye and go even further," said Essa.

The heaviest fighting is reported in an area that is home to the largest community of internally displaced people in the world. Four hundred thousand people forced from their homes by famine and war are said to be surviving in squalid camps.

Essa said the two-fold objective of the offensive is to secure the Mogadishu-Afgoye road, and to ensure the safety of civilians.

"The targets are to make sure we connect all regions of Somalia and that operation is on target. However, our mission is always to make sure the safety of the population in the area where the attacks are going to be," said Essa, who spoke to reporters at African Union headquarters, where he is attending talks on Somalia's political transition.

Al-Shabab has held the Afgoye corridor for years in its campaign to topple Somalia's United Nations-backed transitional government. But after being driven out of Mogadishu earlier this year, the rebels have been forced to retreat to their mostly rural strongholds.

Al-Shabab's military weakness has given rise to hope that the political process currently underway might lead to establishment of Somalia's first elected government by August.

You May Like

US Storm Falls Short of Severe Predictions, Yet Affects Millions

Governors of several East Coast states close schools, order travel bans, urge people to stay home as snowfall, heavy winds, flooding continue in areas More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle with Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people were displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid