Residents flee Kismayu as KDF plans major onslaught
Posted Sunday, September 2 2012 at 23:30
- Tension remains high in the town after salvos fired from ocean at the weekend landed at near its port held by Shabaab
- Those leaving the coastal town are moving towards the agricultural towns of Jamama and Jilib.
Residents of Kismayu have started fleeing the port town controlled by Al-Shabaab, as Kenyan troops in Somalia plan an onslaught to capture it.
A resident, who requested anonymity for security reasons, told the Nation that tension was high after two salvos fired from the ocean at the weekend landed at the town’s port.
There was speculation that the firing came from Kenya Navy vessels off the Somalia coastline, reports that were neither confirmed by Amisom nor military headquarters in Nairobi.
“We assume that a third barrage landed outside the town. Kenyan navy is the most likely force firing,” said the resident.
Those leaving the coastal town are moving towards the agricultural towns of Jamama and Jilib.
This comes just a day after Kenya Defence Forces, fighting under the auspices of Amisom, killed 36 Al-Shabaab militants before capturing Miido town, as part of their advancement towards Kismayu.
“Amisom forces are gearing up for the capture of Kismayu and no efforts by the Al-Shabaab will interfere with the impending capture of the port city,” said Kenya Defence Forces Information and Operations Officer Cyrus Oguna said.
Colonel Oguna said 70 other Al-Shabaab fighters were killed in “follow up attacks by KDF helicopters and jet fighters at Bibi and Jana Cabdalla,” as they fled from Miido.
He said the fleeing militants were planning to regroup when the KDF gunships attacked, destroying four technical vehicles.
Two Kenyan soldiers and two others from Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu were reportedly killed, but neither Amisom nor Col Oguna could confirm the deaths.
Five Kenyan soldiers had gone missing in the battle for Miido on Friday, but three of them were found by their colleagues from the Special Forces unit on Sunday, Kenyan military spokesman Emmanuel Chirchir posted in his official Twitter account.
Another Twitter message seemed to confirm the deaths as it appealed to residents of Kismayu to be on the lookout of where the bodies would be buried.
It read: “To the people of Kismayu... be on the lookout where the remains of our heroes will be buried. That will be our welcome gesture.”
The militia posted some photographs it claimed were those of the missing soldiers on Twitter.
A spokesman for the Ras Kamboni Brigade, a military outfit supporting Amisom forces in Somalia, Abdinassir Seraar, said that the allied forces were at Siinka Dheer, a former Al-Shabaab base, about 60 kilometres West of Kismayu.