Dhobley-September 30th, 2012; Troops from the Somali National Army and the African Union Mission  in Somalia (AMISOM) have advanced to within 5km of the port city of Kismayo, a day after  they  pushed  Al-Qaeda-affiliated  militants  from  the  southern  Somali  town  of  Canjeel. 

Two  days  ago,  an  advance AMISOM  force  conducted  an  amphibious  landing  on  the  beaches north  of  Kismayo  and  has  so  far  secured  the  northern  parts  of  the  city,  including  the  road leading  to  the  capital Mogadishu,  the  Kismayo  University,  and  the  old  airport.


The main force is approaching the city from the North West. Over the last one month, the joint forces have secured a string of towns and centres on the road between Afmadow and Kismayo including  Miido,  Bibi  and  Jana  Cabdalla.


“The  capture  of  Canjeel  has  opened  the  way  for  more  of  our  forces  to  advance  towards Kismayo  in  support  of  our  operations  there,”  said  AMISOM  Force  Commander,  Lieutenant General Andrew Gutti. “Our aim  is to degrade the ability of the Al-Shabaab who threaten and oppress  the  people  of  Somalia,  disrupting  the  country’s  peace  process,”  he  added.


“As we move  into the southern parts of Kismayo, we are taking every precaution necessary to minimize  the  impact of our operations on  the  civilian populace. We have established No-Fire Zones  around markets,  schools, mosques  and  hospitals,”  he  said,  calling  on  any  Al-Shabaab fighters  remaining  in  the  city  to  lay  down  their  arms


The AMISOM Force Commander  congratulated  the Somali and AMISOM  forces  for a  job well done.  “From  our  current  location  our  intent  is  to  conduct  systematic  pacification  operations until  Kismayo  is  secure  and  the people  are  able  to  conduct  their  business  without  interference,”  he  said.


He  also  urged  the  international  community  and  humanitarian  agencies  to  expedite  the provision  of much  needed  humanitarian  assistance  to  the  population  in  the  liberated  areas. “We  stand  ready  to  facilitate  any such  efforts  to  relieve  the  suffering  of  the  Somali  people,”  he  said. 

Posted by Tchioffo Kodjo

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