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

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More