BY: Isaack Nyakundi
The African Union troops (AMISOM) have killed 36 Al Shabaab fighters in a renewed military offensive to bring them closer to Kismayu, the stronghold of the militant group.
Two Kenyan soldiers were reported killed and five others are missing. Al Shabaab confirmed they incurred causalities; they paraded two bodies of the Kenyan soldiers who were killed in the battle for Miido. Â (Kenya-Today.Com obtained graphic pictures of the dead soldiers but could not publish them for respect of the soldiers and family)
The UN backed AU forces captured Miido, a town near Kismayu, fueling speculation that AMISOM may attack Kismayu in less than 24 hours.
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Spokesman Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir said the AMISOM troops, in collaboration with the troops from the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), captured the town of Miido while Islamist militantâ€™s effort to take back Afmadow were thwarted.
The battle for Miido saw Kenya lose two soldiers with five others listed as missing, Maj. Chirchir was quoted. Untill 31st August 2012; Miido was controlled by Al Shahaab.
The search and rescue of the five missing soldiers is underway as those who suffered injuries were air lifted to Dhobley for medical attention.
â€œThis was a brave and important operation conducted by the AMISOM Forces in Lower Juba. Securing the strategic town of Miido will allow local community to rebuild their lives free from terror and tyranny imposed by the Al Shabaab,â€ AMISOM Force Commander L.-Gen. Andrew Gutti.
Lt.-Gen. Andrew Gutti also refuted claims by the Al Shabaab that they had recaptured parts of Afmadow. Â He termed the claims as baseless propaganda.
Al Shabaab has been re grouping in readiness for the grand battle for Kismayu.
The bodies of the two Kenyan soldiers were taken to Kismayu by the Al Shabaab militia where they were publicly paraded for the residents in what many interpreted as a move by Al Shaabab to strengthen the resolve of their fighters and seek to assure residents that they had capacity to ward off AMISOM
The port city of Kismayu is considered to be ground zero of the battle between the AMISON and Al Shabaab militias. The port town is the lifeline for Al Shabaab.
The success of KDF and AMISON in driving away the militia from the Mogadishu and other towns has driven the Jihadists to Kismayu making it a grand battle. Al Shabaab claims to have saved the best for last as battle for Kismayu inches closer, the limited resources at their disposal will be put to maximum use; this may include even using human shield experts warned.
In 2011, according to the head of the U.N.’s counter-piracy division, Colonel John Steed, Al-Shabaab increasingly sought to cooperate with other criminal organizations and pirate gangs in the face of dwindling funds and resources
Al Shabaab is an off-shoot of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), which splintered into several smaller factions after its defeat in 2006 by the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the TFG’s Ethiopian military allies
For 21 years Somali has been ungovernable, facing one disaster after another. Clan militias toppled the central government of Dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and later inter clan wars raged.
Somalia is ranked as one of the worldâ€™s poorest, most violent country, plagued by warring militias, famine, warlords and pirates.
The Insurgency by Al Shabaab started to be more pronounced in 2006 and has grown to be Africaâ€™s most feared Islamist group. Currently Alshabaab controls Southern Somali but with the eminent attack on Kismayu by AMISON this may change.
In August 2011, the Al Shabab Â were forced to withdrew from many areas including Mogadishu, giving the Transitional Federal Government Â a chance to control more territory outside the capital and begin uniting the fractious country after two decades of war.
The TFG could not fully take advantage of the defeat of Al Shabaab as the government was weak, corrupt and systematically divided, this paved way for clan warlords, Islamist militias and proxy forces armed by foreign governments to battle it out for the regions the Shabab was losing.
Western countries including Britain, USA and France have pumped millions of dollars to the TFG but still viewed by many as a toothless dog led by weak and corrupt politicians.