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Somali, Kenyan troops enter Kismayo

English.news.cn   2012-09-28 16:37:40            

MOGADISHU, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Allied Somali government troops backed by a Kenyan contingent of the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Friday entered the Al-Shabaab controlled strategic port town of Kismayo south of the war-ravaged country, commanders and residents said.

"Our forces and Kenya AMISOM troops attacked Kismayo from the sea and land west of the city. Operation is still ongoing and we are facing little resistance from the anti-peace elements in the city," Mohamed Yare, a Somali military commander in the region told Xinhua by phone.

Residents say that fighting around the coast of Kismayo is continuing and sporadic shelling and gunfire could be heard and that fighting has not reached key positions in city centre.

"Fighting is continuing on the fringes of the city and we can hear the gunfire," Haji Yahya, a resident in Kismayo told Xinhua.

Kenya troops backing Somali government forces have been fighting Al-Shabaab militants in the Jubba provinces in southern Somalia for the past year and Kismayo has been the major destination for operation to push Al-Shabaab out of Somalia.

The radical Islamist group of Al-Shabaab has not officially commented on reports of fall of Kismayo but a radio station that supports the group denied Kismayo capture and said that the attack by Kenya troops "was repulsed" out of the city and that fighting was going on.

Kismayo, the largest port city under Islamist Al-Shabaab group, is 500 km south of the Somali capital Mogadishu and has been a key revenue earner for the Al Qaeda-affiliate in Somalia.

The militants levied heavy tariffs on the main charcoal exports and other imports via the port, the largest in the southern Somalia.

The fall of Kismayo will deal a huge below on the radical Islamist militants of Al-Shabaab who have lately been suffering from a string of losses of important areas in Somalia.

Editor: Tang Danlu
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