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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid