News / Africa

Somali Forces Move Into al-Shabab Stronghold

In this photo released by the African Union-UN Information Support Team, Kenyan soldiers serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia at their sector headquarters in the town of Dhobley, Somalia, September 30, 2012.
In this photo released by the African Union-UN Information Support Team, Kenyan soldiers serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia at their sector headquarters in the town of Dhobley, Somalia, September 30, 2012.
Witnesses in Kismayo confirm to VOA that Somali government forces have entered the city on Monday and are taking control of former al-Shabab bases.

But Johnnie Carson, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, warned that al-Shabab has been "effectively degraded" but not entirely defeated.

African Union and Somali troops have entered the Somali port city, two days after the militant group al-Shabab announced it had deserted the city for tactical reasons.  But a Somali army commander in Kismayo says the militants still have a presence in the city and pose a serious threat to incoming forces.

Somali army commander Abdullahi Olow confirmed to VOA some forces entered Kismayo Monday, after days of being stationed at the outskirts of the city.

“We entered the city to do patrols and we have pulled some of them," said Olow. "We have built some defensive positions. The situation looks a bit calm. Now we will start security operations.

 Al-Shabab Timeline

  • 2006 - Launches insurgency to take control of Somalia and impose strict Islamic law
  • 2008 - U.S. declares al-Shabab a foreign terrorist organization
  • 2009 - Seizes control of parts of Mogadishu and the port city Kismayo
  • 2010 - Expands control across central and southern Somalia, carries out deadly bombing in Kampala, Uganda
  • 2011 - Blocks drought/famine aid from areas under its control
  • 2011 - East African leaders declare al-Shabab a regional threat; Ethiopian, Kenyan troops enter Somalia to pursue the group, which is driven out of Mogadishu
  • 2012 - Declares itself an al-Qaida ally, loses ground in Somalia, abandons strategic coastal stronghold Kismayo
  • 2013 - Attacks Mogadishu court complex, killing more than 30 and attacks mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing at least 69 people
Early Friday, Kenyan forces launched a long-awaited assault against al-Shabab militants in Kismayo, sending soldiers into the city from the beach.  Later that evening, the militants left their defensive positions and announced they had closed down their offices.

Despite al-Shabab’s exit, city residents still live in fear, as the security situation remains volatile. 

Somali local media report some remaining al-Shabab fighters and clan militias have killed nine civilians, including clan elders, in the last three days.

Olow says the militant group, despite deserting the port city, still poses a serious threat to his forces and civilians.

“First, we built defensive positions at junction points in the city and roads leading into the town.  Next we will enter the city and take the control with a lot of care," said Olow. "There are some explosives around, they are some remnants of al-Shabab armed with pistols assassinating people.  It’s because of security reasons we didn’t enter the city.” 

Security might be a reason that allied forces did not immediately enter the city, but experts say politics is another factor that has delayed troops going in and filling the power vacuum left behind by al-Shabab.

Mediation talks are going on in Nairobi with Somali clans who are arguing about control of the port city that was once al-Shabab’s financial hub.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: missihoun from: henri
October 02, 2012 6:19 AM
hi
i just want comment on al shabab.
truly al shabab is fighting for something may be the government of somali knows or not.from my view point i would like al shabab leader, un secretary and somalie government to seat on the same talbe to talk and find solution to crisis.it will work perfectly and peace will prevail.

by: zozimos from: USA
October 01, 2012 1:38 PM
While they are dealing with pirates, perhaps they could also deal with the the European and Asian piracy....you think?

"The other more damaging economically, environmentally and security-wise is the massive illegal foreign fishing piracy that have been poaching and destroying the Somali marine resources for the last 18 years following the collapse of the Somali regime in 1991. With its usual double standards when such matters concern Africa, the “international community” comes out in force to condemn and declare war against the Somali fishermen pirates while discreetly protecting the numerous Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing fleets there from Europe, Arabia and the Far East. "

I DOUBT IT!!

by: Anonymous
October 01, 2012 1:00 PM
No Mercy for a Merciless Tyrant.
Assad should be hung for the world to see. I look forward to the day someone disables Assad and puts him in his place. He has killed enough men, women, and children of Syria, he has killed 30,000 too many innocent civillians. If you kill even one or two people in California, you usually get a death sentence.

by: Paul Gesimba from: Nairobi
October 01, 2012 11:39 AM
To finally defeat the Al- Shabab The US Government must lend AMISOM a hand .An aircraft carrier from one of their Indian Ocean fleet patrolling the area could send a clear signal that their time is up and they need to sue for Peace or surrender The US Navy could also set up a Naval Base in the area to deal with pirates ,illegal trade and set up an arms embargo .
In Response

by: Githii from: Nairobi
October 02, 2012 1:39 AM
Why would the US set up a naval base in the Indian ocean? KDF and the Somali army have demonstrated that they can actually do stuff on their own with minimal help. If the al shabaab dont control any stake at the port, piracy might be a thing of the past. All the piracy was being carried out because the pirates were in control of Kismayu (port)
In Response

by: vanyak
October 01, 2012 1:30 PM
Of course. Let's waste even more money helping a nation which is in much better financial state then we are. They don't have 16 tril debt, don't they?
In Response

by: Economist from: U.S.
October 01, 2012 1:18 PM
There is no funding for such an operation. Let the people build their own society from within.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs