News / Africa

Somali, AU Troops Move Against al-Shabab

African Union Mission (AMISOM) forces patrol after fighting between insurgents and government soldiers on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia, May 22, 2012.
African Union Mission (AMISOM) forces patrol after fighting between insurgents and government soldiers on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia, May 22, 2012.
NAIROBI, Kenya - Somali government forces backed by African Union troops have launched an offensive to oust al-Shabab in the outskirts of Mogadishu, along the Afgoye corridor.  Security officials say the aim of the assault is to bring security and stability to the more than 400,000 internally displaced persons in the Afgoye area, located west of Mogadishu.

For the first time, African Union forces and Somali national army troops have attacked al-Shabab bases outside Mogadishu.

Paddy Ankunda, spokesman for the AU force, known as AMISOM, told VOA his forces launched an offensive from Daynile district and were moving westwards, which will give them an entry point to Afgoye.

“Daynile district is completely in the hands of AMISOM," said Ankunda. "We are now fighting over a small township called Elasha-Biyaha, which is on the way to Afgoye and the latest report that I have got is that our forces were controlling over 85 percent of that township.”
 
The Afgoye corridor hosts more than 400,000 internally displaced persons along a 30-kilometer stretch of road from Mogadishu.

It is where many people from Mogadishu have settled over the years as the bullet-ridden city faced intense daily fighting between pro-government forces and al-Shabab.

Humanitarian agencies have expressed fears of civilian casualties and called on all parties to the conflict to avoid use of excessive and indiscriminate force against civilians.

However, Ankunda says the AMISOM operation was carefully planned to avoid any civilian casualties and have advised IDPs (internally displaced persons)  to stay in the camps.

“We worked very closely with our colleagues from the United Nations humanitarian organizations and we have asked civilians not to stray into areas where the fighting is taking place we have requested that they stay in the IDP camps," said Ankunda. "We are working with UNOCHA [United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs] to make sure that they deliver a humanitarian assistance.”
 
African Union forces effectively drove al-Shabab out of Mogadishu last year, greatly improving the security in the capital.

Afgoye corridor is one of the last remaining strongholds of al-Shabab outside Mogadishu. The 30-kilometer stretch served as training grounds for new recruits, a place for leadership to meet and center for pro-militant propaganda.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid