Home > TFG Somalia > KENYA:Kenya’s army marches toward Somalian port town of Kismayu

KENYA:Kenya’s army marches toward Somalian port town of Kismayu

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Laaska news  Dec. 18, 2011          WAR IN SOUTHERN SOMALIA.
by Chrispinus Omar

NAIROBI, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) — As Kenya’s military is advancing toward Somalia’s port town of Kismayu, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG) has come under renewed international pressure to move swiftly toward ending its tenure in August 2012.

Kenya’s military plan is to move the forces and equipment toward Kismayu, from where they hope to dislodge the Al-Shabaab insurgents.

Airstrikes in the areas of Gabragaso, Janabdala and Okosigo in central Somalia helped Kenyan troops in carrying out their plan to liberate Kismayu from the Al-Shabaab, a spokesman for the troops said.

However, Kenyan Foreign Affairs Spokesman Lindsay Kiptiness said there were mounting fears the military gains may not be sustained unless they were backed by real political progress at the level of the TFG.

“A new round of political conflict would affect the transitional process eight months away,” Kiptiness said on Saturday at a weekly briefing on the Kenyan operations in Somalia.

Kenyan military’s operations officer, Col. Cyrus Oguna, said the airstrikes on strategic locations aimed at expanding areas under its control had seen the operation push deeply into the Al-Shabaab, and enabled aid agencies to move in place in Somalia.

“We have been able to plan and execute attacks with testable accuracy while keeping collateral damage at zero,” Oguna said.

“We have surpassed our timelines within proportions,” Oguna said. “The Al-Shabaab’s infrastructure has been affected.”

Oguna said the operation had already left several Al-Shabaab casualties, some of whom were currently being treated at various hospitals in Kismayu.

The hospitals in Kismayu are overflowing with wounded. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who visited Somalia recently to review the security situation on the ground, praised the progress achieved by the Kenyan forces, backed by the Ethiopian, the TFG forces and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

“The Islamists are retreating under mounting pressure from government forces and their allies backed by Kenya and Ethiopian forces,” Ban said.

The UN chief told the Security Council it was important that a coherent military strategy be developed which is aligned to the political objectives.

Somalia’s political wrangling escalated this week after parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan was voted out but later rejected the vote outcome.

The UN has also weighed in by announcing through the Security Council that future assistance to Somalia would be tied to progress toward ending the transition.

Ban said in a briefing to the Security Council last week that accelerated constitutional and parliamentary reforms should be pushed faster since they do not require financial assistance, but would be based on political willingness.

The UN and the African Union, Ban said, had initiated an assessment mission to determine the military requirements on the ground in Somalia. He said the results of the assessment would be communicated to the Council.

The UN chief officially informed the Council of the need to boost the troops inside Somalia and arm them with the required military capabilities.

Ban’s formal request to the Council appears to have been based on previous requests made in 2010 by the AU’s Peace and Security Council (PSC). The AU has been asking the UN to provide the equipment, including five tactical helicopters and military engineering capabilities to the AMISOM to enable it to succeed in Somalia.

Ban noted that the UN should not exclude the incorporation of new forces and expansion of AMISOM, with its current strength of 12,000 troops.

Xinhua.
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Laaska News.
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