Kenyans hail KDF after Kismayu capture

September 28, 2012 2:33 pm
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KDF soldiers moments before taking over the port of Kismayu/CFM
NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 28 – Kenyan leaders have congratulated the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and allied AMISOM troops for the decisive triumph over the Al-Shabaab militants, signaled by the capture of the Port city of Kismayu.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said in liberating Kismayu, the KDF, AMISOM together with the Ras Kamboni Brigade, the allies have laid down the first building block towards the reconstruction of the Somalia, which has not known peace and development for over two decades.

“Our forces have shown a high sense of professionalism, strategy and planning in the execution of the well-laid out attack. Those who used to criticise our military, that it has no experience have now seen for themselves what it is capable of achieving,” Musyoka said.

The Vice President however, made it clear that Kenya has no expansionist agenda in the issue, adding that it would soon be up to the Somali government and her people to run their security and help consolidate peace in their country.

He called on all citizens of Somalia to unite and embrace peace saying the most difficult task in nation building lay ahead and success depends on their unity of purpose.

“The international community must now help provide the necessary resources that will accelerate resettlement of the displaced citizens and provision of basic infrastructure and services, such as education, healthcare and water,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said: “I would like to congratulate our soldiers for taking over the port of Kismayu from Al Shabaab.”

KDF announced Friday it had taken over Kismayu, the last bastion of the Islamist Al-Shabaab militants.
Prime Minister’s wife Ida Odinga has also sent a congratulatory message to the Kenya Defence Forces for their brave capture of Kismayu region.

And even as the Kenyan forces celebrated the ‘take over’, 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 mujahedeen 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 Kismayu 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.

“The international community must now help provide the necessary resources that will accelerate resettlement of the displaced citizens and provision of basic infrastructure and services, such as education, healthcare and water,” he said.

“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.

“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.

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