Somali militants prepare to defend Kismayu strongholdBy ABDULKADIR KHALIF in Mogadishu | Friday, September 14 2012 at 15:32
Somali radical Islamists Al-Shabaab have vowed to put up a strong fight in defence of the strategic port of Kismayu.
Al-Shabaab spokesman and Wali (governor) Sheikh Abdurahman Abu Hufayfa said in Juba, southern Somalia, that his movement will never let Kismayu, 500km south of Mogadishu, go easily.
“We tell the ‘enemy of Allah’ that there will be no easy way of taking over Kismayu.
Sheikh Abu Hudayfa’s remarks come at a time an alliance composed of Somali Government forces, a clan-based Ras Kamboni Brigade and Kenyan troops serving with the AU Mission in Somalia (Amisom) is inching towards Kismayu.
The allies have repeatedly stated that their goal was to seize Kismayu from the fanatical fighters as they advances towards the port town on a mission occasionally supported by air operations.
Addressing a gathering at a square in Kismayu, Sheikh Abu Hudayfa vowed that his militants would defend the town to the last minute.
“Kismayu falling to the enemy is not a prospect,” declared the sheikh.
He added that the people in Jubaland would defend Islam from what he called ‘an invading alliance’.
Pointing a finger at the crowd, the cleric said: “Let us get ready, go and confront Gaalo (non-believers)”.
The sheikh accused some media groups in Somalia of propagating false information about Al-Shabaab, the Al-Qaeda linked movement.
“They (the media) are liars,” remarked Sheikh Abu Hudayfa.
The Al-Shabaab militants have forcibly confiscated a number of independent media entities in Mogadishu and elsewhere in southern Somalia.
They include Horn Afrik and Somaliweyn in Mogadishu and Warsan Radio in Baidoa, and Beledweyne Radio in central Somalia.
In addition, tens of media professionals have fled the country after being threatened by the militants. Some have been maimed while others have been killed.
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