Amisom forces advance towards port town of KismayuBy ABDULKADIR KHALIF in Mogadishu | Saturday, September 15 2012 at 19:36
The African Union Forces, Amisom, together with the Somalia forces have confronted Al Shabaab fighters in Birta Dheer, some 60 kilometres west of the port town of Kismayu.
The Saturday operation the Ras Kamboni Brigade, a resurgent group now fighting with government forces.
Birta Dheer is a heavily fortified post that had been under the control of Al-Shabaab for the past three years.
The allied forces reportedly advanced from Bibi Township earlier on Saturday. The area was seized by the pro-government forces on Friday.
Bibi is a strategic location that unites the roads from Afmadow and Bilis Qoqani, a major traffic way that leads to Kismayu town, the regional and commercial capital of the Juba regions, via Birta Dheer.
Sources close to the development over the last two days indicate that tension is high in the affected areas, as pro-government forces show determination of moving closer to Kismayu, a stronghold of Al-Shabaab, 500 km south of Mogadishu.
Mr. Abdinaser Seraar, the spokesman of Ras Kamboni Brigade, a clan-based paramilitary group allied with the Somali government, underlined on Saturday that Al-Shabaab fighters were not in a position of repelling the allied forces’ advances.
“In this morning (Saturday), we are aiming to reach positions close to Kismayu,” said Seraar. “It will ease our capture of the town within this week,” he added.
Although Seraar insisted that the allied forces were empowered to seize the port town, a senior Al-Shabaab official in Kismayu said on Thursday that his fighters will put up resistance.
Al-Shabaab has neither released statements on the military advances made by pro-government forces nor said a word about the fall of strategic positions like Bibi and Birta Dheer over the last two days.
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