Kenya push al-Shabaab from two towns

2012-01-06 20:09

Nairobi - Kenyan forces have squeezed al-Shabaab militants out of their entrenched positions in two Somali towns as they step up their offensive against the rebels, who have threatened to retaliate with fierce attacks in Kenya.

Kenya sent troops into neighbouring Somalia last October after a string of kidnappings and cross-border attacks it blamed on the al-Qaeda-linked militants and which threatened Kenya's lucrative tourism industry.

After initial advances, Kenya's troops, who are fighting alongside Somali government forces, have been largely bogged down due to heavy rains.

It has instead relied on air strikes in areas where al-Shabaab has a presence in the south of the country, but the end of the rainy season has seen a dramatic escalation in the number of villages taken over by Kenyan, Somali and Ethiopian forces.

This week, the Kenyan military said it took over the town of Fafadun in a battle which killed three militants as well as Elade, both of which are in the southwestern Gedo region.

Elade resident Abdiwahab Ali said Kenyan and Somali troops had moved heavily armoured vehicles into the town.

"Al Shabaab left for Baardhere after three days of fighting outside Elade. The city is now calm but people have not opened business yet," he said. Baardhere is the last major stronghold for al-Shabaab in Gedo.

Kenyan military spokesperson Emmanuel Chirchir told Reuters on Friday: "The aim is to get to Baardhere and eventually eliminate [Shabaab's presence]."

"Ninety percent of Gedo is in the control of Kenyan defence forces, TFG [Somali government forces] and Ethiopian forces. If the capture of Baardhere is done, entire Gedo region will be under the control of friendly forces," he said.

Rebels vow fierce attacks

Al-Shabaab denied Kenya could capture all of Gedo.

"Should Kenya keep on advancing towards us, we swear we shall enter Kenya," Shabaab spokesperson Abdiasis Abu Musab said.

"Let them boast of going deeper into Somalia. They will see al-Shabaab behind them and fierce fighting and attacks in Kenyan towns," Abu Musab told Reuters on Friday.

Last week, Ethiopian forces captured Baladwayne in the central Hiiran region, opening a new front against al-Shabaab, which has been waging an insurgency against Somalia's Western-backed government since 2007.

The militants pose one of the biggest threats to stability in east Africa, encouraging the African Union, which has peacekeeping forces in the Somali capital Mogadishu, to extend the peacekeeping mandate and to request the United Nations bolster the force's size to close to 18 000.

AU Peace and Security Council head Ramtane Lamamra said as a military force, al-Shabaab was being "systematically and steadily destroyed".

"They have been defeated in Mogadishu, they are being defeated in the Gedo and Juba regions and the same happened in Baladwayne," he told reporters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa late on Thursday.

So far, Burundi and Uganda make up the current Amisom force, Djibouti is sending a contingent and Kenyan soldiers intend to join as well. That would mean the peacekeepers can extend their capabilities beyond the capital, most of which is under the control of African and Somali government troops.

"The overall strategy is to reduce al-Shabaab's effectiveness to wage any meaningful fight," Chirchir said.

"In doing so we are using intelligence on all their locations, intentions and immediate operations to hit them while in that planning phase so we ensure they can't carry out any attack," he said.

Since Kenyan forces moved into Somalia, at least 30 people, including several policemen have been killed in attacks in the northeastern Kenyan districts of Wajir, Mandera and Garissa, attacks that Kenya has blamed on the militants.

On Thursday, Kenyan police seized explosive equipment in the Dadaab refugee camp near the Somali border, calling it a major breakthrough in their investigation into the attacks.

Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  amisom  |  kenya  |  somalia  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

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

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Bellville - 06:04 AM
    Road name: N1 Inbound
    DELAYS between the R300 Highway and the Durban Road exit
  • Wednesday Cape Town - 05:45 AM
    Road name: Metro Rail
    DELAYS on the Cape Flats line due to cable theft at Lansdowne
 
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!

Kalahari.com - 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 kalahari.com. 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 kalahari.com’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

Apple iPad 2 White 16GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Two cameras for FaceTime and HD video recording. The dual-core...

From R5727.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself fascinated by something which could draw you in to obsessively exploring this subject in depth....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.