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KDF/AMISOM forces in Somalia/FILE

Kenya

Kenya army enters Somali port of Kismayu

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Newly elected Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud praised AMISOM Monday for forcing the Shebab to vacate the city.

“We commend AMISOM and the Somali troops who have shown bravery by forcing the enemy out of the town,” a statement from Hassan’s office said.

Hassan also called on aid organisations to assist the thousands of Somalis displaced.

Somali government sources said the administration is working on plans to mediate between the Somali clans who are arguing over the control of the town in order to facilitate an “all inclusive administration” and avoid further violence.

“Kismayu is a headache and the government is now planning to mediate between the clans to avoid civil unrest,” a Somali government official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The Shabaab used Kismayo as an export hub for the illegal charcoal trade and the port had been their de facto capital since they abandoned fixed positions in Mogadishu last year, also under increased military pressure from AMISOM.

The port city has been largely off-limits for most foreign and local journalists and aid groups.

Kismayu had also been a symbol of the extreme form of sharia — or Islamic law — the Shabaab want to impose across the country since 2008, when they stoned a teenage girl in public on charges of adultery.

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