Somali envoy says Al-Shabaab losing more ground
07 October 2014, 09:21
Nairobi - Somali Ambassador to Kenya Mohamed Ali Nur on Monday said Al-Shabaab militant group is desperate and losing more ground after Somali troops backed by African peacekeepers had retake several key towns.
Speaking in Mombasa after visiting Somali pirates serving jail terms in the city, Nur said African Union Misson in Somalia (AMISOM) troops have managed to defeat the group and taken over the key strategic towns.
He said the recapture of Barawe, the last major port held by the Al-Shabaab and a key source of revenue for the militia, is an indication of clear setback on the group's activities.
"We believe in the next few weeks, we are going to liberate most of the town used to be under their control. The Al-Shabaab is on the run and they are going to lose, people in Somalia want peace and stability," Nur said.
The militants reportedly charged taxes to ships that sailed or docked at Barawe's port, raising revenues to expand its military campaign.
The Africa Union said the insurgents were using the town, which they had held for six years, as a base to launch attacks on Mogadishu, the capital. According military source, the fall of Barawe is another major blow to the Al-Shabaab one month after their leader Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed in a U.S. drone strike.
Senior Kenya military officer said the fall of Barawe, which is about 200km southwest of Mogadishu, will definitely hamper logistical operations of the militant group that enjoyed funding and local support for decades.
Al-Shabaab Commander Mohamed Abu Abdallah vowed that the fighters would maintain pressure on Somali and AU forces even if they took Barawe.
Also read: KDF kill 22 Al-Shabaab fighters in southern Somalia
Nur said Somalia government is working closely with Kenya government to ensure the borders are properly patrolled.
Kenya police spokesman Masoud Mwinyi said the government has heightened surveillance at the Kenya-Somalia border in Lamu and northern Kenya to avert cross border incursion by the insurgents.
"We are aware both foreigners and locals who had joined the group might be fleeing the recent defeat of Somalia by sneaking back into the country," Mwinyi told Xinhua by telephone.
Hundreds of Kenyan youths, mainly from Mombasa and Nairobi are among foreign fighters in Somalia fighting for the Al-Shabaab after they were radicalized by extremist preachers.
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