Kenya navy shells Somali town

2012-10-01 07:45
File, AFP

File, AFP

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

Mogadishu - Kenyan warships shelled the southern Somali port of Kismayu overnight after al-Qaeda-linked rebels said they had abandoned the city, residents said on Sunday.

Stunned by an assault by sea, air and ground forces late on Friday night, al-Shabaab rebels fled the city that had been their key source of revenue, retreating to surrounding forests and towns.

However, there were conflicting reports on Sunday evening about how much of Kismayu African Union forces (Amisom) now controlled.

The Kenya Defence Force (KDF), part of Amisom, said it had seized the sea port, the police headquarters and the radio station, but a source in the Somalia National Army told Reuters Amisom was close to taking control of those installations but had not yet done so.

The shells being fired by Kenyan warships may have been targeting remaining pockets of resistance or military installations in the city that was the rebels' last stronghold.

"The ships were firing deafening shells at the outskirts last night but several shells landed on houses," said Samira Ismail, a local mother of four.

Al Shabaab said two children had been killed and other people wounded in the shelling, a statement rejected as propaganda by Colonel Cyrus Oguna, a Kenyan military spokesperson.

Kenyan and Somali troops sent to retake Kismayu from the rebels were on the town's outskirts, Oguna said earlier on Sunday, and were proceeding carefully in case al-Shabaab's claim to have abandoned the city was a ploy to lure them into a trap.

"The troops are consolidating and making plans to expand into the southern part of the city," Oguna told Reuters.

Strategic installations

"A lot of caution must be exercised here. We don't want to get into a situation where we start to lose troops here and there."

The southern part is the city centre and whoever wins it will effectively have control over the port and other strategic installations.

The KDF and the Somalia National Army, fighting under the flag of the African Union force in Somalia (Amisom), have not suffered any casualties in the operation, Oguna said.

An al-Shabaab official said that although the group had ceded control of Kismayu, its fighters were poised to engage the allied troops once they entered the city.

"We are just waiting for the AU and Somali troops to enter the town. We shall fight them in streets and alleys. We abandoned the town. Why don't they go in if they have the guts?" Sheikh Hudayfa Abdirahman, the group's head of Jubba region, told Reuters.

In Kenya's capital Nairobi, a nine-year-old boy was killed and three children wounded by a hand grenade thrown into a Sunday school session in a church on Sunday, an act police said was the work of al-Shabaab sympathisers.

Two police officers were also shot dead in the northern Kenyan town of Garissa close to the border with Somalia, police said.

"Fight the enemies in muddy jungles"

Somalia analysts said although al Shabaab had retreated, it was far from vanquished.

The rebel group, which counts foreign al-Qaeda-trained fighters among its ranks, is seen as one of the biggest threats to stability in the Horn of Africa. It has received advice from al-Qaeda's leadership, counter-terrorism experts say.

The insurgents, who once controlled swathes of the lawless Horn of Africa country, have turned to guerrilla tactics, harrying the weak government of newly-elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud with suicide bombings and assassinations.

Abdirahman said the onset of rains would help al-Shabaab fight back.

"We shall fight the enemies in the muddy jungles between Kismayu and Kenya. Enemies will be stuck in the mud. We are sure the enemies will never rule peacefully," he said.

Kismayu residents said the chaos was causing hardship.

"Food prices and dollar value have risen a bit this morning. If the situation remains this way for days, we anticipate inflation and then starvation," said shopkeeper Abdullahi Nur.

Some civilians fled the city in minibuses on rough roads that twist through the surrounding jungles.

"I will also evacuate my children if Kismayu does not change positively," said Ismail, the mother of four.

Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  al-qaeda  |  amisom  |  hassan sheikh mohamud  |  kenya  |  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
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

The most epic YouTube mashup of 2014

Try to see how many of these things gone viral you recognise in this epic mashup YouTube video!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Stay in shape this summer
Ultimate fails compilation 2014
This sleeping bulldog is you during the holidays

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Paarl

Houses R 1 900 000

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Durbanville

Houses R 2 400 000

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off the bestselling books

Save big on the most captivating reads of 2014. 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is one of those days where you could react and say something and then have to pick up the pieces. Take your time before...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.