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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid