KDF finally sets foot in Kismayu

Kenya’s Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Julius Karangi (in truck) consults senior officers on the front line as KDF troops marched on Kismayu on Friday morning

NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 28 – Kenya Defense Forces said Friday they had taken over Al Shabaab’s stronghold in Kismayu even as the Al Qaeda-linked group insisted they were incharge of the port city.

Military Spokesman Col Cyrus Oguna told Capital FM News that their forces stormed Kismayu at 2 am Friday but did not confirm any casualty figures.

“We finally entered Kismayu in a joint operation both on air and ground,” Oguna said.

An Al Shabaab commander in Kismayu Sheik Mohamed Abu Fatuma however, dismissed the reports saying “The enemy using military boats have deployed hundreds of soldiers on the coast late last night and the mujahideen fighters are engaging in heavy fighting with them now.”

Al Shabaab’s Twitter page said the Kenyan forces had tried to take over Kismayu unsuccessfully.

“#KDF cowards attempt to attack Kismayo from the sea but the courageous Mujahideen thwart their attempts,” it read.

Another tweet posted at 10 am Friday said “Kismayo remains firmly in the hands of the Mujahideen.”

Other rebels and city residents told AFP the Kenyan troops were still on the outskirts of the city that they have been targeting for days.

“They are not very close to the city because the coast where they are now is around nine kilometres (six miles) from downtown,” another commander quoted by AFP said.

Several Kismayu residents also said the Kenyan forces were still on the beach, where they came ashore from two ships escorted by helicopter gunships around five kilometres from the city centre.

Kenya Defence Forces attacked Kismayu on Friday morning via land, air and sea

“The city itself is still under control of Al Shabaab. Radio Andalus is operating and calling on people to join the jihad and overthrow the invaders,” one resident, Abdulahi Yakub, told AFP.

 

Kismayu is the last major bastion of the Somali militants, who have lost most of their other strongholds to the 17,000—strong African Union force—of which Kenya is a part—as well as allied Ethiopian forces.Kenyan troops have been aiming to take Kismayu ever since they rolled troops and tanks across the border to fight the Islamist extremists almost a year ago.

The key Al Shabaab-held towns of Afgoye, Baidoa and the port of Marka have all fallen in recent months.Reaching their goal has taken them longer than anticipated.

Kenyan forces have been targetting the port for days and on Tuesday fighter jets bombarded the city’s airport.

BERNARD MOMANYI

BERNARD MOMANYI

Bernard is the News Editor at Capital FM. He commands over a decade of experience in news gathering having worked in both print and electronic media. He holds a BSc degree in Information Sciences from Moi University where he is currently enrolled for a Masters programme.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucy.wangoi1 Lucy Wangoi

    Dont know what to say,,,,,, God take care of the great men of Kenya ! God bless Kenya ! Mission accomplished !! Amen and Amen.

  • Mukoro Nduru

    Bravo mighty KDF the enemy is vanquished, the great people of somalia are nearing complete emancipation from their tormentors – alshabab.

  • Zippy

    Finally my friend will be back home….

  • samuel justice

    well done, please chase this elements them to the gates of hell

  • http://twitter.com/shadracv Shadrack Koske

    Good work, u’re making Kenyans proud

  • Mongella

    marisa kapisa hiyo animal species like people, they should be died and fogoten,,KDF ,..Fire!!!!fire fire fire fire fire fire!!! chai ni Kismayo,….kama bado hijapoa,.