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Kenyan Military: al-Shabab Armory Crushed in Key Somali Town

  • VOA News

Members of al- Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab listen to a Somalia government soldier after their surrender to the authorities in the north of Somalia's capital Mogadishu, September 24, 2012.
The Kenyan army says it has destroyed key facilities belonging to al-Shabab militants in the Somali port city Kismayo, the group's largest remaining stronghold.

Army spokesman Cyrus Oguna said that Kenyan jets destroyed two sites Tuesday at an al-Shabab airport.

"One was a warehouse where al-Shabab has been keeping weapons. The other one was an armory, also for keeping ammunition," he said.

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
Oguna said the area had long been a logistics center for the al-Qaida-allied group.

Kenyan forces with the African Union and Somali government troops are preparing to launch a major offensive to recapture Kismayo.

The international troops have been stationed about 60 kilometers outside the port city since last week. Oguna said Kenyan jets fired more than 10 missiles around the city and the strikes did not result in civilian casualties.

Al-Shabab militants in Kismayo have vowed to fight to the death against pro-government forces. The militants have used the town's seaport to bring in weapons and other supplies to support their battle against the government.

The extremist group is seeking to impose a hardline form of Sharia law (Islamist law) throughout Somalia. It once controlled most of southern and central Somalia, but has lost most of its territory to pro-government forces since they launched a major offensive last year.