Source:Xinhua Published: 2012-9-26 9:12:32
Kenyan contingent serving in the UN-backed Africa Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Tuesday shelled two Al-Shabaab targets and destroyed the insurgents' armory store and warehouse in Kismayo.
Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna said the two targets were brought down on Tuesday in Kismayo airport and has been condoned off by the militants.
"KDF jets today destroyed Al-Shabaab armory store and warehouse at Kismayo airport. Area is currently sealed off from on-lookers because they do not want people to see the number of casualties," Oguna told Xinhua by telephone.
He said the Kenyan soldiers have not established the number of casualties from the two targets as match toward the Kismayo intensify. "We will give you the number of casualties later since the scene has been condoned off by Al-Shabaab," he said.
The capture of the town comes as AMISOM forces have been positioning themselves for possible takeover of the strategic port of Kismayo, which often seen as the ultimate prize in the battle against the Al-Shabaab.
The Somali third largest city is considered the hub of the militant group, Al-Shabaab, which formally merged with the dreaded global terror network, the Al-Qaida, after several years of pledging loyalty and ideological similarities.
The strategic town has seen some of the most intensified battles since the deployment of the Kenyan troops in mid October 2011. Kenyan naval warships and helicopter gunships are shelling Al-Shabaab's positions in the port city of Kismayo.
The shelling came a day after President Mwai Kibaki called on UN agencies and international organizations working in Somalia to relocate to the liberated areas and directly provide humanitarian assistance to Somalis living there.
Kibaki also appealed to the UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon to mobilize all relevant agencies to embark on relocating the refugees living in Kenya to liberated areas of Somalia noting that the situation created by the presence of over 65,000 refugees in Dadaab refugee complex in northern Kenya was untenable.
Speaking during a meeting with Ban in New York, President Kibaki said Kenya was fully committed to the restoration of peace and security in Somalia.
"We are gratified at recent positive developments in Somalia arising from the implementation of the political roadmap. Kenya also welcomes the convening of a Mini-Summit on Somalia. We believe the Summit will help in charting future support for the Somali Government in a coherent and well-coordinated manner," he said according to a statement released from his office in Nairobi on Tuesday.
Kibaki said the military offensive by AMISOM that was fully supported by the Kenya Defense Forces has been successful in liberating large areas of southern Somalia from Al-Shabaab.
"I have no doubt that the international community is committed to protecting those security gains and to ensuring that Somalia remains firmly on the path to sustainable peace," he added.
Troops from AMISOM's Kenyan contingent have captured a string of towns on the road from Afmadow to Kismayo, most recently the strategic town of Bibi and Janaa Cabdalla which is about 40-50 kilometers to Kismayo.