News / Africa

Kenyan Troops Storm Somali Militant Stronghold

A Kenyan army soldier wears a helmet on which is written in Kiswahili
A Kenyan army soldier wears a helmet on which is written in Kiswahili "Tea in Kismayo", referring to a key strategic Somali town then under the control of al-Shabab, checks his ammunition belt near the town of Dhobley, in Somalia.
Gabe Joselow
Kenya’s Defense Force says its troops took control of parts of the Somali port city of Kismayo Friday in a pre-dawn attack from the land, air and sea.  The long-awaited operation is targeting the last major stronghold of the al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab.

Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) launched the assault around 2:00 am local time from the Kismayo coast in coordination with Somali forces and the African Union peacekeeping force known as AMISOM.

KDF spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna says Kenyan soldiers secured the northern part of the town with little resistance from al-Shabab.  “Since our troops got there early in the morning there have been no ground engagements -- serious ones -- there have been air strikes in key locations of the city to target strategic al-Shabab logistic bases,” he said.

Oguna said the militants still control the southern sector of the city, but he expects their fighters to disperse as troops close in. “We expect some of the members of al-Shabab to disappear into the local communities -- the junior commanders -- the key leaders will probably just leave and flee to other parts,” he added.

Two witnesses say the militants have mounted machine guns on the town's tallest buildings.

The Somali militia group Raskamboni is fighting on the side of the pro-government forces.  The group's leader, Ahmed Madobe, told VOA that "we hope to take over the city within the coming hours."  

He noted, however, that al-Shabab relied economically on Kismayo and may fight to prolong its control.

Al-Shabab said in a series of Twitter messages Friday that it remained in control of Kismayo and had destroyed three Kenyan armored personnel carriers.

A witness in Kismayo said al-Shabab clerics urged residents during Friday sermons to stay and fight against the incoming forces.

He also said Kenyan ships have been shelling the city from the sea and that some civilians have been injured in the fighting.

The United Nations refugee agency reported Friday that about 12,000 people left Kismayo in the past month, in some cases to avoid forced recruitment by al-Shabab.

KDF spokesman Oguna said a humanitarian corridor is being provided for civilians who choose to flee, but some residents say the roads have been blocked.

Kenya has been vowing to take control of Kismayo since it first sent troops into neighboring Somalia in October last year, following a spate of cross-border attacks blamed on Somali militants.

Al-Shabab has used the town’s seaport to bring in weapons and other supplies to support their battle against the Somali government.

Kenyan forces were incorporated into the AMISOM peacekeeping mission in June, though Kenyan naval forces continue to operate independently.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: joeafrika from: kenya
September 28, 2012 1:38 PM
i dreamt of a time when somali will echo with the sound of children;s laughter, a time when the chilling sound of exploding bombs will be a thing of the past.
The time is Now..Go on fellas make it real.

by: Papayankie from: Juba, South Sudan
September 28, 2012 6:00 AM
Well done comrades! God bless your efforts and crown you with more victories ahead as you do what is good on the sight of men! Rid us of these wanton loss of lives, wipe our tears away and make us bring up the remaining with a decade hope that they will realize their dreams.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More