News / Africa

Kenyan Troops Storm Somali Militant Stronghold

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.
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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
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.


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