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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs