News / Africa

Somali Militia Says Forces Move Closer to al-Shabab Stronghold

Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers patrol the Indian Ocean coastline in Burgabo, south of Kismayu in Somalia, December 14, 2011Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers patrol the Indian Ocean coastline in Burgabo, south of Kismayu in Somalia, December 14, 2011
x
Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers patrol the Indian Ocean coastline in Burgabo, south of Kismayu in Somalia, December 14, 2011
Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers patrol the Indian Ocean coastline in Burgabo, south of Kismayu in Somalia, December 14, 2011
NAIROBI - A spokesman for a militia aligned with Somalia's Transitional Federal Government says troops are moving closer to al-Shabab's principal remaining stronghold of Kismayo.  The pro-government militia Ras Kamboni says the militant Islamist group is trying to rally civilians inside the port city to defend against the oncoming attack.

The long-stalled offensive in southern Somalia, aimed at seizing control of Somalia’s third city Kismayo from al-Shabab, has gained momentum as African Union troops, Somali government forces and allied militias take more ground.

Abdinasir Serar of Ras Kamboni says the final push to Kismayo is expected to start in the coming weeks.  He says that push will come on multiple fronts.

Our forces are 75 kilometers away from Kismayo, Serar says.  We are planning to enter Kismayo through the seaport and several other towns -- Bula Haji and Jilib, for example -- and also want to come through all these directions to capture Kismayo.

African Union forces say they have captured the town of Bibi, which is 75 kilometers from Kismayo and 45 kilometers from Afmadow, another town that pro-government forces recently captured from al-Shabab.

There is growing concern for the safety of Kismayo's tens of thousands of residents as the final military push approaches.

Serar says Ras Kamboni is monitoring the situation inside Kismayo very closely, and received an intelligence report that al-Shabab met with local clan elders to encourage them to fight.

Serar says the reports they are getting from Kismayo is that al-Shabab met with clan elders and told them to take weapons and fight against what they call non-believers.  He says al-Shabab is likely not to put up a fight and may pull out of the port city.

However, multiple sources say that al-Shabab had set up a new defensive position in a place called Birta Dheer, midway on the road between Afmadow and Kismayo.

Birta Dheer is the main strategic position for the militants, and if that position is taken it may be difficult for al-Shabab to defend the port city of Kismayo.

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid