Somalia: Kismayo Saved By Attacker Greed


September 14, 2012: Al Shabaab continues making several terrorist attacks a week throughout Somalia, with bombs, grenades, and gunfire. There are not many casualties, at least by Somali standards, but the violence serves to remind everyone that al Shabaab is still active. The attacks are noted by al Shabaab announcements on the Internet and in press releases. For the al Shabaab hard core, the massive defeats of the last year are merely a temporary setback. In Mogadishu, the city is at peace, by Somali standards. Foreigners are warned to stay out of certain neighborhoods and to travel in well-guarded convoys whenever possible.

The final assault on Kismayo has been ready to go for weeks. What's holding up the attack are political differences between the various clans in the area of southern Somalia (called Jubaland) occupied by Kenyan troops. Kismayo is the largest city (and port) in the area and a major economic prize to whichever clan controls it. The capture of Ksimayo will complete the creation of Jubaland and the inability of the local clan leaders to agree on who shall control what is delaying the attack to seize the city.

September 13, 2012: Newly elected president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has moved to a heavily guarded residential compound.

September 12, 2012: Al Shabaab detonated two suicide bombs outside a hotel where the newly elected president was meeting with Kenyan officials. A suicide bomber in army uniforms attempted to enter the hotel but was halted by security. Then a suicide car bomber detonated as well. The attack killed eight people.

September 11, 2012: Some 50 kilometers from Kismayo, Kenyan and Somali troops advanced along the road to the port city, killing over 40 al Shabaab gunmen who sought to block them. One Somali soldier was killed. The attackers were assisted by armed helicopters and they killed many al Shabaab who fled the attacking soldiers.

September 10, 2012: Parliament elected (190 to 79) Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the new president of Somalia. Mohamud recently formed the first Somali political party that was not representing one clan or warlord. He has worked for international organizations and is considered much less corrupt than any of the other presidential hopefuls.

In central Kenya 1,500 police have been sent to the Tana River delta area along the coast, after a week of tribal violence (between farmers and herders) left over a hundred dead. The Tana is the largest river in Kenya and just down the coast from Somalia.

September 7, 2012: An Italian Navy helicopter was fired on while flying near a boat off the coast. The gunfire came from a small ship suspected of having been captured by pirates. A few bullets hit the helicopter, one shattering part of the Plexiglas windshield in front of the pilot. A Plexiglas fragment hit the pilot, who then returned to his ship.

Police in Nairobi, Kenya raided a home in a Somali neighborhood and seized 150 detonators, an essential element in building bombs. Al Shabaab has followers among Kenyan Somalis (some of whom are refugees while others are native born Kenyan Moslems).

September 6, 2012: Kenyan troops were still battling al Shabaab gunmen around the southern town of Mido, where over a hundred al Shabaab gunmen were killed in the last week as the terrorists lost control of the town.

September 5, 2012: Kenyan warships again fired on al Shabaab targets in Kismayo.



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