Kenya takes control of two key al Shabaab towns
Kenyan forces have taken over two al Shabaab controlled towns after two airstrikes left the towns of Hosingo and Badade, in Southern Somalia, under the control of Kenyan forces and the Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government.
The two towns were home to al Shabaab camps said to have been destroyed in the military offensive. An unspecified number of al Shabaab fighters died in the attacks.
Among the dead were top eight al Shabaab fighters. Both towns were key transit points for improvised explosive devices and contraband goods to the rest of Somalia and Northern Kenya.
Colonel Cyrus Oguna, the Kenya's military spokesman, described the move as a major victory for the Kenyan forces: “Al Shabaab is completely weakened. They have lost a source of revenue in Hosingo, because of the contraband they were passing there. They have lost control of the southern sector through the loss of Badade, and therefore they have receded back towards Kismayu”.
Away from the battleground of Somalia, Kenya continues to lobby the international community to step-up its support for the country.
Moses Wetangula, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Minister has met with William Hague his British counterpart as well as the Danish Minister for International Cooperation and made the case for more international support.
Lindsay Kiptiness the Kenya Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman says that the conflict in Somalia cannot be solved without the strengthening of Amisom, the African Union Mission in Somalia.
“Expanding Amisom means it requires more money," Kiptiness explains. "We have done our best to lobby other members of the international community to ensure that they are ready to finance an expanded Amisom because it will be fruitless to have a big Amisom force without finances and enablers.”
Meanwhile, Kenya continues to attack al Shabaab on both military and diplomatic fronts.
These recent military gains further reinforce the need for victory on the diplomatic front, which will in turn reinforce the military strength of the overall African Union Mission in Somalia.