AMISOM forces in talks with clan elders on administration of Kismayo

Source:Xinhua Published: 2012-10-8 18:13:59

Kenyan soldiers in the UN-backed Africa Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have started talks with the local elders in the key city of Kismayo to establish an administration.

Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna said the talks which brought together Somalia academicians, clans elders, AMISOM forces and Somalia National Army (SNA) is aimed at setting up an inclusive administration that will run the port city.

"The (elders and academicians) promised to maintain security in the city and set up an all inclusive administration," Oguna said in a statement late on Sunday.

He said the successful talks which were held on Sunday saw all clan elders express satisfaction with the activities of AMISOM force.

The port city of Kismayo, Al-Shabaab's only remaining stronghold was captured by Kenyan soldiers and other allied forces on Sept. 28 after a spirited gunfire between the insurgents and AMISOM forces.

The militant group has also come under pressure from Uganda, Burundi and Sierra Leone soldiers who recently pushed out them out of the outskirts of Somali capital Mogadishu and other key regions they used to control two years ago.

Analysts say the loss of the seaport is a major blow to the Al- Shabaab who once extorted much of their revenue from traders and businesses utilizing the facility.

Kismayo, with a population of about 200,000 people is the third largest city of Somalia which is considered the hub of the militant group Al-Shabaab.

He said the troops are also monitoring the movement in and out of town at control points erected outside the town, adding that pacification and stability operations are also going on in the city.

"They hailed efforts by AMISOM to improve security, which will promote good learning atmosphere in Kismayo. Somali academicians condemned Al-Shabaab for running down the education system," Oguna said.

According to the military spokesman, the meeting between the clan elders and academicians resolved that learning should resume immediately.

He said the AMISOM forces and SNA will continue with efforts to restore normalcy in the once Al-Shabaab stronghold to ensure that businesses which had closed reopen.

"The elders condemned clanism and promised to work together for the prosperity of Kismayo and the whole of Southern Somalia," he said.

The insurgents on Sept. 29 confirmed that they have abandoned their offices in the city located in southern Somalia but vowed to continue with their battle against the AMISONM forces.

The militants said the withdrawal was a tactical retreat but vowed to keep on fighting until they defeat the Kenyan troops and allied forces.

Al-Shabaab announcement came after an assault on the city by AMISOM troops who had been trying to liberate the civilians in the key city.

Oguna said the AMISOM forces have also embarked on a confidence building to the locals, providing secure environment for the locals to curve own leadership structure.

Al-Shabaab militants have vowed to attack Nairobi after the east African nation which hosted protracted negotiations that culminated in the signing of the federal charter for Somalia in 2005, sent troops to Somalia to flush out the insurgents it blamed for kidnappings of tourists.

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