19 September 2012

Somalia: Military Forces Step Up Battle for Kismayo

Photo: Stuart Price/UN
A soldier stands over the weapons seized from suspected members of Al Shabaab (file photo).

Mogadishu — Somali National army (SNA) with the support of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces continue battling against Al Qaeda-linked Al shabab militants for Kismayo control.

Locals, who spoke to Shabelle Media by phone under anonymity, assured that there were many Al Shabaab fighters fleeing Kismayo on Tuesday towards other rebel-bastions, south of Kismayo due to the expecting onslaught by Somali and Kenyan forces.

Meanwhile, the Al Shabaab Twitter account stated that the militants had brought down a Kenyan helicopter in the latest fighting, a claim that Kenyan military officials denied.

Kismayo, a strategic port city, just 500 Km South of Mogadishu, Somali capital was and is the largest remaining nerve centre of the group's revenue producer for its three-year fighting against the UN-backed Somali government and its allied AU forces.

However, the besieged city has been the allied forces' main target for the last 3 months to take its control from Al shabab despite stiff resistance. There have been reports of immense Exodus from the town and its nearby villages, were thousands of local residents began heading to the jungle in fear of they will be caught or stranded in the combat.

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