Amisom secures Somali aid corridor

2012-05-29 12:49

Mogadishu - African Union and Somali government troops secured an aid corridor between Mogadishu and a former rebel stronghold close to the capital, the AU said, wresting control of a strip of land believed to hold about 400 000 people displaced by conflict.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) and Somali forces had seized the town of Afgoye from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab insurgents on Friday.

The joint force then took control of Elasha Biyaha, the last remaining al-Shabaab stronghold in the 30km corridor, making the area safe for aid groups to operate in, Amisom said.

The corridor northwest of Mogadishu is believed to hold 400 000 internally displaced people, the largest such concentration in the world, with some access to aid.

"The week-long operation ... has enabled a free flow of civilian traffic between Afgoye and Mogadishu, and provided the opportunity for humanitarian agencies to access the area," Amisom said.

"Previously, al-Shabaab had prevented aid groups from delivering assistance to the people in the corridor."

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has said about 9 200 people have been displaced by the fighting in Afgoye.

Al-Shabaab had used Afgoye as a strategic base to stage sporadic attacks on the Somali capital.

The rebel group called its withdrawal a tactical retreat, just as it did after pulling out of the capital in August and several other towns subsequently, and pledged to strike back.

Internal divisions

"We were not overpowered. We withdrew to avoid civilian casualties. It is part of our tactics," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, the spokesperson for al-shabaab's military operation, told Reuters by telephone.

"The capture of Afgoye means nothing. We attacked it last night," Musab said.

Weakened by internal divisions and financial constraints, the rebels have surrendered territory in Mogadishu and across central and southern Somalia where they are also battling Ethiopian forces as well as Kenyan soldiers now integrated into Amisom.

A blast struck the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Monday but there was confusion over whether the explosion was caused by bomb or by a huge electrical fault.

Kenya has blamed al-Shabaab and its sympathisers for a string of attacks in Nairobi and the port city of Mombasa that have killed 10 people since Kenya sent troops across the border in October.

In areas they have vacated, the militants have resorted to guerrilla-style hit-and-run attacks, launching grenade attacks and using suicide bombers.

The rebel group has waged a bloody five-year campaign to topple Somalia's Western-backed government and impose its harsh interpretation of Islamic law.

It continues to hold swathes of central and southern Somalia but is being squeezed out of some areas by Kenyan and Ethiopian troops, which have launched incursions inside Somalia in support of the beleaguered government.

Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  al-qaeda  |  somalia  |  east africa

Read News24’s Comments Policy 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
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


DA wants to empower fishing communities - Zille

DA leader Helen Zille says the party has a plan for harbours and small-scale fishing communities.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Friday Grabouw - 10:15 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS approaching Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. 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

BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900

The Blackberry Bold Touch 9900 is as the name says...

From R3565.00

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. more

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


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 network.


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.