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War in Southern Somalia:US planes join Kenyan battle

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Laaska News Oct. 23,2011
(Nation)

Al Shabaab militants were on the back foot on Saturday evening as they faced heavy bombardment from multiple fronts from a combined force of Kenyan troops, US drones, African Union peacekeepers and Transitional Federal Government fighters.

Reports from the battlefront indicated that Kenyan troops were advancing towards four al Shabaab-controlled towns as they launched a final push to capture the Kismayu port and Afmadow in Central Jubaland.

There was progress on the diplomatic front, too, when the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) member states endorsed the military offensive against the militants during a special conference held in Addis Abba Ethiopia on Friday.

The Igad Council of Ministers urged the United Nations Security Council to impose a blockade on Kismayu, a move which will effectively cut off billions of shillings collected by the militants to fund their insurgency.

A statement from the military said Kenyan security forces were advancing towards Burgavo town in southern Somalia after capturing Oddo on Friday.

Another group was marching towards the town of Badade from the direction of Kolbio which they conquered on Friday. The troops had earlier bombed areas around Munarani near Oddo from the air, flattening an al Shabaab command centre.

A third company was moving towards the town of Hayo in Central Jubaland after the heavy rains that have been pounding the area subsided.

Simultaneously, fighters allied to the TFG were closing in on Afmadow amid reports that al Shabaab militants were regrouping in the town of Bula Haji and heading towards Afmadow.

It is expected that a deadly confrontation between the Kenyan and TFG troops on one side and the militants on the other may be witnessed in that town. 

The al Shabaab militants are reported to have sent fighters around the River Juba area in a bid to stop Kenya and Somalia troops from advancing into Kismayu territories in a bid to cut off billions of shillings they earn in port fees and illegal sale of contrabands goods.

The Kenya army alone is reported to have deployed at least 4,000 soldiers backed by Transitional Federal Somalia Government troops for a ground invasion of Kismayu.

Navy ships fitted with heavy weapons are reported to have arrived in the Somalia territorial waters and set up base around Bajuni Islands of Kudai, Ndoa, Chuvaye, Koyama, Fuma Iyu na Tini and Nchoni Islands.

October 22.

Nation.

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Kenyan troops secure two more towns in South Somalia

2011-10-21

NAIROBI, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) — Kenyan troops secured two more towns in southern Somalia as its military operation entered its six day in the Horn of Africa nation on Friday.

Military Spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir said the troops backed by soldiers from the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG) captured the town Oddo and the border town of Kolbio.

“Kenya Defence Forces(KDF) troops in cooperation with TFG forces have secured the town Oddo. The troops have also secured the border town of Kolbio,”Chirchir said on Friday.

He said the Kenya Navy continued to enforce border integrity by ensuring pirates who have been attacking foreign vessels along the coastline of Somalia.

“The local administration in the town Ras Kiamboni organized its first administrative meeting and expressed their gratitude towards the efforts by the TFG and KDF in reclaiming their town,” Chirchir said.

The East African nation said its troops were about a few kilometers outside of the Al-Shabaab-held town of Afmadow by Thursday, but that forward movement has been slowed by heavy rain.

Kenyan authorities have also suggested they will turn the battle inward to sweep members of Al-Shabaab or other hostile groups out of communities within Kenya’s borders.

Kenyan forces backed by the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia launched an operation on Sunday to pursue the al Qaeda- linked militants in southern Somalia to drive the militants, who are linked to a wave of kidnappings, away from Kenya’s border.

The forces have camped at Qooqani, some 100 kilometres from the border, as they continue with the assault to push forward to seize Afmadow, which Somali government forces are already fighting to secure.

But the size of the common border, spanning some 1,400 km and covering land and sea, has been a source of concern to security analysts, who fear the security operation might not achieve its intention without a strategy to keep the hard-won territory.

Chirchir said NATO warship on Thursday intercepted and arrested seven pirates south of Kismayu.”The seven are still being held by NATO forces for further interrogation,”he said.

The military spokesman said the Kenyan troops have moved 35 km towards Busar but are yet to secure the town as ongoing rains which is pounding several areas of Southern Somalia continue to slow down the operation.

He said the Somalia insurgents, Al-Shabaab, are believed to be holding the town of Busar together with other towns including Catama, Fafadun and Baadhere.

Chirchir also confirmed that Kenya’s Chief of the Defence Forces, General Julius Karangi left early on Friday for Addis Ababa for a round table meeting with TFG ministers, Ethiopia Chief of the Defence Forces and AMISOM(African Union Mission in Somalia) officials to discuss matters pertaining to the operation.

He said the Addis Ababa security meeting will also discuss the exit strategy for the future systematic deployment of AMISOM troops among other issues.

Xinhua.

 
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