Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
WEDNESDAY, 23 APR 2014
11:58 PM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
22 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
International
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
African Union, Somali troops capture Islamist-held town
Agence France Presse
In this photo taken Friday, Oct. 5, 2012 and released by the African Union-United Nations Information Support Team on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, A soldier of the Kenyan Contingent serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) stands guard on a street in the centre of the southern Somali port city of Kismayo. (AP Photo/AU-UN IST, Stuart Price)
In this photo taken Friday, Oct. 5, 2012 and released by the African Union-United Nations Information Support Team on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, A soldier of the Kenyan Contingent serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) stands guard on a street in the centre of the southern Somali port city of Kismayo. (AP Photo/AU-UN IST, Stuart Price)
A+ A-

NAIROBI: African Union troops alongside Somali forces seized the formerly Islamist-held town of Wanla Weyn on Sunday, the latest loss for the Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab fighters, commanders said.

Its capture -- reportedly without a fight -- is a key step towards opening up the main highway linking the capital Mogadishu to Baidoa, a major town wrested from the Shebab by Ethiopian troops in February.

The AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which also seized the Balli Doogle airstrip on Sunday, have now advanced over 90 kilometres (55 miles) northwest from Mogadishu since launching an offensive outside the city in May.

"Somali government forces with the support of AMISOM troops have secured the strategic town of Wanla Weyn on the Afgoye to Baidoa corridor," said Andrew Gutti, commander of the 17,000-strong AMISOM force.

Wanla Weyn lies roughly a third of the way to Baidoa from Mogadishu, with the remaining 160 kilometres (100 miles) still controlled by the Shebab.

"The capture of this town denies Al Shebab another source of illegal income after a string of defeats," Gutti added in a statement.

"It will also facilitate the provision of much needed humanitarian assistance to the local population."

Kenyan troops -- who invaded Somalia a year ago before later integrating into AMISOM -- are also pushing up from the south, having last week seized the Shebab bastion and major port of Kismayo.

The hardline insurgents still control the town of Jowhar, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) northeast of Mogadishu, and the small port town of Barawe, lying some 180 kilometres (110 miles) down the coast from the capital.

However, the fighters have largely retreated ahead of each assault, with some reportedly relocating to the northern Galgala mountains in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region.

In addition, vast and remote areas of bush surround many of the towns seized, which could also provide a haven for fighters who have fled.

The extremists, who left fixed positions in the capital last year, have also switched to guerrilla attacks in many areas, including the use of suicide bombers.

 
Home International
 
     
 
Somalia / Kenya
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Wednesday, April 23, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Israel shows Zionism’s true colors
Michael Young
Michael Young
Why confuse gibberish with knowledge?
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
Echoes of 1914 characterize the Ukraine crisis
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS