100s flee shelled Somali port town

2012-09-05 09:20
AFP

AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Mogadishu - Hundreds of residents have fled the southern Somali port of Kismayo after the Kenyan navy shelled the town ahead of an expected ground operation to capture it, officials and residents said on Tuesday.

Kismayo is the main remaining stronghold of the al-Qaeda-linked militants of al-Shabaab. The group, considered terrorists by the United States and others, is waging an insurgency against the UN-backed Somali government, which is being bolstered by African Union troops including Kenyan forces.

Residents say the militants have ordered them not to leave Kismayo, but the prospect of being caught in a war between the militants and the Kenyan forces is outweighing whatever brutal punishment they could get for disobeying.

Kenyan military spokesperson Colonel Cyrus Oguna said seven people believed to be members of al-Shabaab were killed in shelling on Saturday and Monday that targeted an arms cache, a mounted gun position and a militant roadblock.

Oguna said Kenyan ground troops were moving closer to Kismayo - they are now just 90km away - in preparation for a military assault.

Afrah Hussein, an elder in Kismayo, said hundreds of residents have fled.

"There was a gradual flood in recent days, but today more than 200 people left," he said on Tuesday. "People are being forced to stay in the town but it seems they are paying no heed to that because of their fears of war."

Another resident agreed.

"We are fleeing because combat ships are coming in sight of the town and troops are on the way," said Mohamed Ali, who was heading to the town of Barawe to the east. "We don't want to get caught between warring sides -it's a confusing and scary situation out there."

Regional threat

Muhummed Ghelle, another Kismayo elder, said "everyone is sneaking away for his safety - people started to leave here a week ago."

Those fleeing have mostly streamed into Jilib, a town north of Kismayo, but some have travelled to Merca, an eastern town recently seized by government troops, Ghelle said.

Kenyan commanders had earlier vowed to take Kismayo by August but officials said the plan was bogged down by the need to take care of people in the towns already liberated from al-Shabaab.

Last week, Kenyan troops took over the town of Miido, north of Kismayo.

The Ugandan military forms the bulk of the African Union forces in Somalia. Ugandan and Burundian forces pushed al-Shabaab out of Mogadishu, the capital, about a year ago. Kenya and Burundi have also dispatched troops to fight al-Shabaab, which neighbouring countries view as a regional threat.

Somalia has not had a fully functioning government since clan-based warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, but slow progress is being made. A new constitution has come into force, a new parliament and speaker were recently chosen and they are to vote in a new president by 10 September.

- SAPA
Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  al-qaeda  |  kenya  |  somalia  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Climbing the world’s largest stone arch

For the first time ever, a rock climber conquered the biggest stone arch in the world.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route
4 exercise excuses and how to beat them
Watch: Insane road bike skills!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

One day only! – 40% off Appliances!

Get 40% off 100’s of appliances at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong desire to be self sufficient, right and in control today. There is a tendency to hold on too tightly to your...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.