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

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid