News / Africa

AU Force Pursues Elusive Enemy in Somalia

AU Force Pursues Elusive Enemy in Somaliai
X
May 01, 2014 10:54 AM
African Union forces have wrested control of territory from al-Shabab militants in southern Somalia. But as VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the frontlines, with ever-changing tactics, the terrorist group has proven to be hard to finish off.
Gabe Joselow
African Union forces have wrested control of territory from al-Shabab militants in southern Somalia. However, with ever-changing tactics, the terrorist group has proven to be hard to finish off.
 
In the early morning light, AMISOM soldiers in southern Somalia deployed a surveillance drone to seek out a hidden enemy the al-Shabab militants who once controlled this territory.
 
Ugandan peacekeepers pushed most of the militant forces out of this area in the past two months, but the threat has not yet been completely eliminated.
 
His eyes glued to the screen, soldier Dickson Arineitwe spots something suspicious.
 
"A group of men in a semi-circle, and when they detected us, they have now dispersed. They have disappeared," said Arineitwe.
 
Just like that, the enemy vanishes.
 
In March, Ugandan soldiers reclaimed control of the town of Qoryool, a major commercial center in the Lower Shabelle region, south of Mogadishu.
 
Many people fled the town as peacekeepers closed in, but life is slowly starting to return to the streets.
 
The militants had used a police station as their base of operations in town, before being pushed out by AMISOM and Somali forces.
 
For years, al-Shabab's black flag waved from the flagpole above the square, but it has now been replaced by Somalia's national flag.
 
Despite this success, AMISOM captain Caesar Olweny said the group is down, but not defeated.
 
"We could still have some few elements within town who have now melted into the community in civilian clothes and that is a group which can also mean to be very dangerous," said Olweny.
 
Al-Shabab has adopted different tactics since leaving Qoryoole, such as blocking off sections of the Shabelle river, flooding irrigation canals and roads.
 
The disruption has impeded AMISOM's movements, and has cut off supply routes to town.
 
Somali National Army Commander Mohammed Abdi says people are struggling to get basic items.
 
"The local community has a lot of issues and the roads connecting towns are not yet secure," said Abdi.
 
While AMISOM has been able to secure Qoryoole, the Somali National Army has been disorganized and unable to re-establish strong government control here, and in other towns in the region.
 
The al-Shabab problem has been pushed south and further operations are planned to remove the militants from their remaining bases.
 
Howver, if the group has shown anything, it's that resilience is its strong suit.

You May Like

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to the Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20 billion In India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high profile visit 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid