|Kenyan forces head to Kismayo|
The Africa Union peacekeeping mission in Southern (AMISOM) on Tuesday called on international community and humanitarian agencies to expedite the provision of much needed aid to the needy population in the Horn of Africa nation.
AMISOM Sector 2 Commander, Brigadier Anthony Ngere said AMISOM forces were ready to facilitate any such humanitarian efforts to relieve the suffering of the Somali
people. "He also urged any Al-Shabaab fighters remaining in the city to lay down their arms," Ngere said in a statement issued in Nairobi by Kenya Defense Forces (KDF)
spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna.
Ngere said the locals are comfortable with the presence of the troops, adding that many people who had earlier moved out of town for fear of oppression by the Al-Shabaab
have started moving back to town. "Today, the forces have cleared 16 vehicles in several road blocks set up in the city. The vehicles carried out over 100 civilians moving back
into the port city following reports that this was safe," Ngere said. The statement came after the KDF forces under the umbrella of AMISOM together with the Somalia National
Army (SNA) expanded their control beyond the Kismayo seaport, early on Tuesday, taking control over the police station, the Governors' House, the radio station up to the
Analysts say the loss of the seaport is a major blow to the Al- Shabaab who once extorted much of their revenue from traders and businesses utilizing the facility. "The
operation to take the seaport was met with little resistance from extremists," Ngere said after the militants abandoned the city on Saturday.Kismayo, with a population of
about 200,000 people is the third largest city of Somalia which is considered the hub of the militant group, Al-Shabaab, which formally merged with the dreaded global terror
network, the Al-Qaida, after several years of pledging loyalty and ideological similarities.
Ngere praised the skill and courage of the troops saying that he was pleased with the pace of operations underway in the key city of Kismayo, once a lifeline of Al-Shabaab.
"KDF/SNA continue to exercise utmost caution in order to avoid harming the civilian population," the military commander said. The East African nation has been involved in
efforts to bring stability and peace to its Somalia, its northern neighbour, with Kenyan troops serving in the AMISOM, which along with government and allied forces, has been
liberating large parts of Somalia from the control of Al-Shabaab militants, as well as progress on its political front.
Kenyan officials say they have been encouraged by recent political developments in Somalia, particularly the selection of a new President, Prime Minister and Parliament and
adoption of a new Constitution. Ngere said AMISOM forces and allied forces who conducted an amphibious landing on the beaches north of Kismayo and have so far secured
the northern parts of the city, including the road leading to the capital Mogadishu, the Kismayo University, and the old airport. "As the ground forces continue to move into
other parts of the city they discovered 6 bombs hidden and successfully detonated them without any injuries. "Yesterday (Monday), the Al-Shabaab remnants carried out 7
summary executions targeting civilians who did not support that in the southern port of Kismayu," he said. He said KDF/SNA strongly believe that a peaceful Somalia is
achievebale and the security gains made this far continue to create an opportunity for a Somali-led leadership, growth and development in all sectors of Somalia. (Xinhua)