29 September 2012

AU Troops Rolling Back Somalia Islamists

An amphibious assault has forced Somalia Islamists to abandon Kismayo. The BBC reports:

Islamist militants in Somalia say they have withdrawn from their southern stronghold of Kismayo, following an African Union (AU) military attack.

Kenyan and Somali forces launched a beach assault on al-Shabab's last major bastion on Friday but encountered fierce resistance.

A Somali commander told the BBC that AU forces were not yet in the city.

Kenyan troops are part of a force trying to wrest control of the country for the new UN-backed president.

Al-Shabab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage told AFP news agency: "The military command of Shabab mujahideen ordered a tactical retreat at midnight."

Speaking to Reuters, the same spokesman confirmed the withdrawal, but added: "The enemies have not yet entered the town. Let them enter Kismayo, which will soon turn into a battlefield."

Al-Shabab commander Sheikh Mohamed Abu-Fatma confirmed the withdrawal orders to AFP: "We got orders from our superiors to withdraw from the city... this is part of broader military tactics we have set for the enemy."

Kenyan military spokesman Col Cyrus Oguna said the AU forces were in control of the northern parts of the city and were preparing to move to southern districts.

Kenya's Defence Minister Yusuf Haji told the BBC that al-Shabab had not yet vacated the area and it would "not be difficult for people who know the area well to sneak out without being detected".

But he said the people of Kismayo were "very happy and were welcoming Kenyan and Somali troops with both arms".

By: Brant

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