News

    AU Claims Defeat of al-Shabab in Mogadishu

    Current African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Force Commander Major General Fred Mugisha, speaks to the Somali media at the mission's headquarters in the capital Mogadishu in this handout photo taken April 26, 2012.
    Current African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Force Commander Major General Fred Mugisha, speaks to the Somali media at the mission's headquarters in the capital Mogadishu in this handout photo taken April 26, 2012.

    The African Union military force in Somalia has declared victory over al-Qaida-linked rebels in Mogadishu.   

    Predicting that the insurgents will soon be crushed nationwide, senior AMISOM commander General Fred Mugisha declared  "All of Mogadishu is now liberated by Somalia Defense Forces by forces supported by AMISOM." 

    General Fred Mugisha said fighters of the Islamist extremist group al-Shabab have been expelled from every section of the Somali capital.

    A year ago, al-Shabab controlled virtually all of this city of 1.5 million people. The western-backed Transitional Federal Government held a tiny scrap of land surrounding the presidential compound.

    But in an 11-month urban guerrilla warfare campaign, the 10,000-strong AMISOM force of mostly Ugandan and Burundian troops systematically cleared out the extremists. Over the past few weeks, al-Shabab fighters have fled their last strongholds on the outskirts of town.

    Al-Shabab spokesmen have called the retreat a “strategic withdrawal,” but General Mugisha says the pullout marks a significant defeat for the rebels.

    "There are indicators that show defeat of a group, whether al-Shabab or any other group. One, they lose territory. And they have lost territory. Two, when you see enemies of that fighting force beginning to report to government, that's a weakness," the general noted. "It means the balance is changing, and we are beginning to see some of them reporting to the government side."

    Reporters who toured the capital over the past two days saw signs of a return to normal after years of al-Shabab control.

    The sprawling Bakara Market that was badly damaged in months of fighting last year is once again bustling with commercial activity. Streets are crowded with cars, and a construction boom is underway throughout the city as crumbling buildings are repaired.

    AMISOM officials cautioned, however, that al-Shabab remains a dangerous force, and can stage hit-and-run strikes from the rural areas where it has fled. Gunfire could be heard echoing through the city after dark, and there are daily reports of explosions and grenade attacks.

    Less than a month ago, a female suicide bomber struck during ceremonies at the newly-rebuilt national theater, killing two of the country's top sports officials.

    Nevertheless, General Mugisha suggests that the extremists are rapidly losing control nationwide, even in the traditional rural strongholds to which they have retreated.

    "There are still thousands out there supported by foreign fighters and jihadists, but we think at this pace, if we continue, it will not be long before we see the end of al-Shabab," he said.

    With al-Shabab in retreat, AMISOM forces are busy consolidating their control well outside the city limits. Troops are constructing a barrier in the desert outside town to prevent the easy movement of al-Shabab forces.

    AMISOM officials say the emphasis is now shifting to building up Mogadishu's unarmed and badly understaffed police forces.

    As the city returns to normal, police units from other African countries are being dispatched to train and equip a professional Somali force that can restore order after more than two decades of anarchy.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Optimist
    May 01, 2012 6:53 AM
    there we go again, another too early "mission accomplished."

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora