Somalia: Al Shabaab In Retreat


May 31, 2012: More Kenyan troops are approaching the al Shabaab held port of Kismayo. This port is a major al Shabaab base and the source of much of their income and most of their imported supplies. Al Shabaab charges ships to unload goods for local merchants and collects various other taxes in the town. Losing Kismayo would be a major defeat for al Shabaab and would greatly weaken the Islamic terrorist group.

Apparently, parts of the key southern town of Afmadow remain under al Shabaab control. The town is about 620 kilometers south of Mogadishu and is a major trading center inland from the port of Kismayu. Kenyan aircraft have been bombing al Shabaab targets inside the town for months and Kenyan troops have been skirmishing outside the town for nearly as long. Al Shabaab taxes the merchants using the town and this has been a major source revenue.

May 30, 2012: Kenyan forces claim to have captured the town of Afmadow, Al Shabaab claims that they still hold the town. Kenyan forces claim to have killed several al Shabaab fighters today, in and around Afmadow.

In northern Kenya near the Somali border, four policemen were wounded when they were fired on by al Shabaab gunmen. In northeastern Kenya a bomb went off outside a restaurant, killing one and wounding three.

Kenyan warships again fired on al Shabaab camps in and around Kismayo.

May 29, 2012: Kenyan warships fired on the port of Kismayo, killing at least 11 al Shabaab men.

On the road to Afgoye, al Shabaab attacked a convoy carrying the president of the TNG (Transitional National Government). Two soldiers were wounded but the president was unharmed.

May 28, 2012: In the Kenyan capital a large explosion occurred downtown, wounding nearly 40 people. At first it was believed to be another al Qaeda attack but was later found to be caused by faulty electrical wiring.

May 27, 2012:  In northern Puntland police arrested 11 Somali pirates and seized their weapons and equipment. Normally, the Puntland security forces leave the pirates alone but this particular group had killed five policemen last year, and the police wanted vengeance.

May 25, 2012: Al Shabaab forces fled Afgoye (40 kilometers northwest of Mogadishu) as they learned that convoys of peacekeepers and government troops were approaching. Last year the town was attacked by UAVs firing missiles. There was a large al Shabaab base in the town, with stocks of weapons and ammunition. Al Shabaab vowed retaliation for losing Afgoye. The capture of the town makes it easier to supply 400,000 refugees with food aid. There were several days of fighting and skirmishing before al Shabaab decided it was better to retreat than stand and be destroyed. Nearly 10,000 civilians fled all that fighting and there were over a hundred casualties, most of them al Shabaab or civilians.

May 23, 2012: The last pro-al Shabaab radio station (Radio Andalus) near Mogadishu went off the air as TNG troops took control of the area the station was in.

May 22, 2012: Peacekeepers and government troops began advancing to the northwest out of Mogadishu, towards the town of Afgoye (40 kilometers away).


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