News / Africa

Al-Shabab Withdraws From Kismayo

Picture of Kismayo, Somalia, taken September 28, 2012.
Picture of Kismayo, Somalia, taken September 28, 2012.
Gabe JoselowMohammed Yusuf
The Somali militant group al-Shabab says it has withdrawn from its last major stronghold in southern Somalia, following a military strike led by Kenyan armed forces.  The militant group says its retreat from Kismayo is a tactical decision and warns that they will continue to fight in the city.

Residents in Kismayo say al-Shabab fighters left the city early Saturday a day after Kenya launched a major attack targeting the militants from the land, air and sea.

An al-Shabab spokesman said the group’s commanders had ordered the tactical withdraw from the city.  A message from a militant-linked Twitter account warned of more fighting, saying Kismayo will be “transformed from a peaceful city… into a battle-zone.”

Kenyan forces, which are part of the African Union peacekeeping mission known as AMISOM, claim to be in control of some areas in the north of the city.

Al-Shabab Timeline
 
2006: Launches insurgency to topple Somali government, impose Islamic law
 
2008: U.S. declares al-Shabab a foreign terrorist organization
 
2009: Seizes control of parts of Mogadishu, Kismayo
 
2010: Expands control across central and southern Somalia; carries out deadly bombings in Kampala, Uganda in first attack outside Somali
 
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, troops advance on the group's stronghold Kismayo
Residents say the exit of al-Shabab has left a security vacuum in the south, and reported seeing looting of homes and offices.

Kenyan military spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna says soldiers are preparing to move into other parts of the town to confirm whether any al-Shabab remnants have stayed behind.

“In the south, now that they’re getting into the south, we’ll be able to determine that when they get there. But information that is trickling in from unconfirmed quarters is that al-Shabab rolled down their tents yesterday in the night and part of today in the morning,” said Oguna.

Somali National Army Commander Abdullahi Olow said Somali and African Union forces are still closing in on
Kismayo from the north and plan to full control over security in the city.

An undated handout photograph released by Kenya's Ministry of Defense on September 29, 2012, shows members of the Kenyan Defense Forces during an operation at an undisclosed location in Somalia.An undated handout photograph released by Kenya's Ministry of Defense on September 29, 2012, shows members of the Kenyan Defense Forces during an operation at an undisclosed location in Somalia.
x
An undated handout photograph released by Kenya's Ministry of Defense on September 29, 2012, shows members of the Kenyan Defense Forces during an operation at an undisclosed location in Somalia.
An undated handout photograph released by Kenya's Ministry of Defense on September 29, 2012, shows members of the Kenyan Defense Forces during an operation at an undisclosed location in Somalia.
He told VOA that his forces were attacked by some al-Shabab fighters Saturday outside Kismayo.

"We encountered al-Shabab in two small villages on our way to Kismayo, and we crushed them," he said. "They are using young fighters who they are stationing on the roads."

Al-Shabab has been weakened as a military and political force since being driven out of the Somali capital Mogadishu by African Union forces last year.  Since then, the group has relied on the Kismayo seaport as a source of revenue and supplies.

Kenyan spokesman Oguna says part of AMISOM’s military objective is to destroy these supply lines to further weaken the group’s capabilities.

"Once their logistic bases have been taken out, their ammunition dumps have been hit and destroyed and the seaport is no longer in their control, it might be very hard to sustain," he said.

Kenyan forces first entered southern Somalia in October last year after a series of cross-border kidnappings that Kenya blamed on Somali militants.

The forces were integrated into the AMISOM peacekeeping mission in June.

You May Like

Amnesty: EU Failing Migrants, Refugees

Rights group says migrants, refugees subject to detention, extortion, beatings More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Paul Gesimba from: Nairobi
October 01, 2012 9:19 AM
The Al Shabab and their terror networks have caused the worst humanitarian crisis in History with the World largest refugee camps in Kenya with refugees fleeing their draconian laws .I plead with President Obama whose father came from Kenya to send a clear message to the Al Shabab that the World cannot and will not tolerate their terror activities and networks .

by: Chep from: USA
September 30, 2012 12:35 AM
Proud of kenyan and African Union Forces for their great, yet tough job so far to eradicate these selfish Somalia terrorists! It sends a clear message to all the tyrants and terrorists, that, the united peace loving world, will continue to fight them till they are wiped out from the face of the earth. Peace, Love & Unity

by: Anonymous from: USA
September 29, 2012 6:21 PM
Congratulations to the Kenyan forces for an intelligent campaign to free these people, allowing them to return from Muslim Law (Sharia) back to human rights.

by: washingtone onyango from: nairobi
September 29, 2012 4:50 PM
"KDF congrats keep it up and go ahead and destroy more we wish you success"

Al Shabaab should be crashed by all means and resources available at our disposal
KDF and AMISOM deserves honour. lets pray for them as they guard our neighbors.

God almighty hs given us the victory. CHAI KISMAYU INDEED

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deali
X
July 07, 2015 12:02 PM
If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs