Soldiers of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) celebrate after capturing key Al-Shabaab militia base in Afmadow, southern Somalia earlier this year. Photo
Somali pro-government and allied forces have almost surrounded the port town of Kismayu ready for a takeover assault, according to the Somali government's Juba region spokesman Aden Ahmed Hersi.
“The Kenya navy is just 15 miles away,” said Mr Hersi. He added that apart from land forces, Kismayu was under air surveillance.“We are committed to remove the black banner (Al-Shabaab’s symbol) and raise Somalia’s blue colour flag all over Jubaland,” vowed the spokesman.Meanwhile, army officials in Somalia’s Juba region have confirmed that more fighting has taken place between the provincial town of Afmadow and the port town of Kismayu, 500 kilometres south of Mogadishu.The Thursday fighting was a continuation of the attacks by pro-government forces on positions held by fighters loyal to Al-Shabaab, the radical Islamist group.Brigadier-General Ismael Sahardeed, the commander of Somali government force in Jubaland, claimed that the allied forces killed nearly 60 Al-Shabaab militants.He added that the allied troops destroyed a number of vehicles during the attacks.“We are going to employ a carefully crafted strategy to seize Kismayu,” said Brig-Gen Sahardeed. “We are employing military tactics to capture the town (of Kismayu) within a week.”Earlier in the week, Amisom troops and government forces had seized the town of Marka, 110 km south of Mogadishu.Afterwards, Amisom force commander Lt Gen Andrew Gutti said the capture of Marka would enhance security across Somalia by denying the terrorists a base from which to launch attacks.