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

Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan Over Plans to Boost Military

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is working closely with the Jordanian government to secure the release of remaining Japanese hostage Kenji Goto More

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Country's youngest ever PM Alexis Tsipras, 40, sworn in Monday and says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts More

Multimedia National Geographic Photo Camps Empower Youth

Annual mentoring program's mission is to give young people a voice to tell their own stories through photography 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid