Kenya Attacks Somali Militants' Last Stronghold

Al-Shabab being pushed out of Kismayo
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 28, 2012 2:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – Kenyan military forces have claimed victory after a pre-dawn beach landing on the last port city held by al-Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia. The operation to seize Kismayo, al-Shabab's last major stronghold, met minimal resistance, the Kenyan military's top spokesman says. The attack "began five days ago with surgical attacks and gun placement at the jetty and warehouse," he says. "In the final operation Kenya's maritime forces and the Somali national army together with land troops with air support entered Kismayo. Because there was that element of surprise there was no resistance."

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But Kismayo residents say the Kenyans have seized the port but not the town and al-Shabab fighters are still moving toward the front line. More than 10,000 residents have fled the town in recent weeks. The militants' radio station is still operating and has broadcast false propaganda to trick people into moving toward the invading troops. "They told residents through their radio to loot a Kenyan ship that washed up on the coast, but instead the residents who rushed there were attacked by helicopters," one resident says. "Some of them have died but I don't know how many. The situation is tense and many are fleeing. It's a dangerous situation." (Read more al-Shabab stories.)

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