News / Africa

    Somali, AU Troops Retake Towns From al-Shabab

    Somali government soldiers looking out from a machine gun mounted pick-up truck at Tobanka Buundo in the lower Shabelle region, near the Somalian capital Mogadishu, where residents created a road block during a protest against the Islamist Al-Shabab insur
    Somali government soldiers looking out from a machine gun mounted pick-up truck at Tobanka Buundo in the lower Shabelle region, near the Somalian capital Mogadishu, where residents created a road block during a protest against the Islamist Al-Shabab insur
    Gabe Joselow
    Somali government and African Union forces say they have recaptured territory that was held by the al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab. A government official says the offensive is just the start of a fresh effort to oust the group from its remaining strongholds in Somalia.

    Somali forces were supported by Ethiopian soldiers who belong to the AU force AMISOM in the operations against al-Shabab, which began on Friday.

    "So far, over the weekend, we had at least five towns in Bay and Bakool region that Somali National Forces and AMISOM recaptured from al-Shabab," government spokesman Abdirahman Omar Osman told reporters, adding that there were no major setbacks.

    Major battle

    Two of the towns are in the Gedo region, including Burdhubo, which VOA's Somali service reports is home to one of the largest al-Shabab bases in southern Somalia.

    Residents reported hearing heavy fighting in the area on Friday, although an AMISOM spokesman told VOA that al-Shabab fighters are mostly retreating when they see the AU soldiers coming.

    Regional forces had been successful in driving the militants out of major cities in the past, but until the recent operations, had not reclaimed significant ground since Kenyan troops took control of the port city of Kismayo in 2012.

     “Our aim is to not stop this operation until we take over all the districts, all the areas that al-Shabab currently occupies,” Osman said. He said the weekend fighting is just the beginning of a much larger military campaign.

    Humanitarian aid

    To avoid power vacuums in newly liberated towns, Osman said the first priority for the government is to provide humanitarian aid, then to establish local administrations to deliver basic services.

    In an audio statement posted on a pro-jihadi website, al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane called for Somali citizens to take up arms against foreign forces.

    “I call upon the fighters to defend the religion and to fight against the enemies,” he said.  “Ethiopian soldiers who have come thousands of kilometers should not outlast you,” said Godane.

    Al-Shabab, which seeks to establish Islamic law across Somalia, continues to control territory in some parts of the country and also retains the ability to wreak havoc in the capital Mogadishu.

    Last month, al-Shabab fighters stormed the presidential palace, Villa Somalia. The president was unharmed but 17 people were killed.

    You May Like

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    South Korea Says North Korea Moving Closer to Rocket Launch

    In phone call, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree that Pyongyang's move would be 'provocative'

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Hassan from: anchorage, Alaska.
    March 11, 2014 2:54 AM
    I urged all trbal leaders to call back their sons fighting for al-shabab. The time for terrorist has come to an end. Every clan or tribe knows how many of it's members fighting for the alqaeda group. Call them to surrenda now, or don't come to complain for their release when captured .

    by: Gatbel pal k from: unknown
    March 10, 2014 12:36 PM
    al.shabab,they give big headache in somalia,the same like JET in north sudan and kiir in s.sudan.....their time is up for all of them to be cheese away........

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.