Egypt: Ever Art crosses Suez Canal on its first voyage    IFC loans Egypt's El Sewedy $150 million for more access to renewable energy in Africa    Gold prices in Egypt on June 29    Saudi citizens could enter Schengen countries visa-free    Egypt's Petrojet returns to Libyan oil sector after 11 years    Cemex, VeryNile sign deal for Egypt's Nile River    NATO remarks Egypt's role in maintaining stability in Middle East and Africa    Congo needs Egypt's expertise to diversify its economy – FPI official    Dostarlimab drug cures rectal cancer patient 100%, trials show    Egypt: A royal train turns into a new tourism attraction    Conclusions and Recommendations of the 1st edition of Africa Health ExCon    For the first time John Legend to perform in Egypt    Egypt discovers newly treasure trove of ancient artifacts at Saqqara Necropolis    Noura Al-Mutair – first Gulf female boxer in World Championships    Liverpool fans: "You'll Never Walk Alone" to Cristiano Ronaldo    Egypt to play key role in integrating water, climate issues globally – World Bank official    Egypt's telecoms regulator announces working hours for holy month of Ramadan    Maha karara joins AAIB as Head of Corporate Communications, Sustainability    Egypt works on charting cooperation strategies with international institutions for 5 years: Al-Mashat    Over 2.4 million newborns examined for hearing impairment: Health Ministry    Netflix releases trailer of Arab adaption of 'Perfect Strangers' film    Balqees to headline concert celebrating launch of streaming giant LIVENow in MENA    Sawsan Badr to be honoured at Aswan Women Film Festival    MP Abdel Hady Al-Qasby calls government to facilitate and support NGOs    Al-Sisi follows up on 'Great Transfiguration Project' in St. Catherine    Cairo, London stress need to strengthen cooperation to face climate change    Foreigners account for 22.6% of Egypt's T-bills issuances in 1H 2021: CBE    Egypt's ambassador to Italy passes away    Egypt confirms readiness to help African countries face terrorism and extremism    An estimated 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021, an increase of 40% compared to 2020: IOM Egypt    Egypt, DRC discuss water cooperation during WYF    Egypt, DR Congo discuss boosting bilateral cooperation during WYF    Cameroonian police probe assault on three Algerian journalists covering AFCON    Pharaohs start AFCON 2021 campaign with fierce clash against Nigeria    Foreign Ministry opens capacity building course for French-speaking African diplomats    Egypt's trade with Nile basin countries climbs 26% y-o-y in 9 months    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Somali militants hit Kismayu as African troops move in
Published in Almasry Alyoum on 02 - 10 - 2012

African Union troops and tanks occupied Al-Shabab's former stronghold of Kismayu on Tuesday, but the Somali Islamist militants gave notice of their intention to fight back, saying they detonated a bomb in the port city.
The blast points to the Al-Qaeda-linked rebels' ability to hit back with covert strikes and continues a pattern of attacks in other urban strongholds from where they have retreated under military pressure, including the capital.
A spokesperson for Al-Shabab's military operations, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, said the bomb was planted inside a district administration office building now housing Somali troops and warned of more attacks.
"This is only an introduction to the forthcoming explosions," he told Reuters. The militants had succeeded in "killing many," Musab said.
The government said the explosion caused no casualties.
Kenyan troops fighting under the AU flag entered Kismayu for the first time on Tuesday after launching an offensive against the port on Friday, forcing the rebels to flee.
They followed hundreds of Somali government troops and allied militia fighters who deployed in the city on Monday.
Al-Shabab's strength is hard to gauge. Mohamud Farah, a spokesperson for Somalia's government forces, said between 4,000-5,000 fighters were hiding in the southern Juba regions.
Hundreds of foreign fighters had joined the insurgency at its peak from countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania as well as the United States and Britain, Somalia's last government said.
"Foreign fighters (also) started leaving when they saw their space was shrinking," a Nairobi-based security adviser said, referring to the offensive by African Union and Somali government troops that has steadily won back rebel-held ground over the past 14 months.
After the surrender of Kismayu, defection rates among foot soldiers were also expected to pick up, with the rebel group seen as a losing proposition.
What will be left behind, analysts say, is a hardline core.
Whether Al-Shabab is able to wage a prolonged campaign of guerrilla attacks on Kismayu will largely hinge on Mogadishu's success in establishing a regional administration that satisfies competing clan interests in the south.
"If you have marginalized clans, Al-Shabab will find allies in them. If all clans are on board it will be hard for al Shabab to infiltrate Kismayu," the security adviser said.
Regional economies at risk
Al-Shabab, which formally merged with Al-Qaeda in February, has been seen as a major threat to stability in east Africa.
The militants warned that although they had withdrawn from Kismayu, the AU offensive had not yet dealt the combat-hardened rebels a knock-out blow and that it would hit back against Kenyan and Ethiopian targets.
"We shall never spare Kenya and Ethiopia even if they withdraw their troops. They are age old enemies of Somalia and we shall fight them be it in their lands or here till the doomsday," Al-Shabab spokesperson Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said.
There are likely to be growing fears that the battered militants will look to carry out high profile attacks beyond Somalia's borders, in a bid to reestablish their jihadist credentials.
"It appears that, with the loss of Kismayu, Al-Shabab's days as a quasi-conventional military force occupying and, to an extent, administering territory within Somalia are over," said J. Peter Pham of US think-tank the Atlantic Council.
However, Pham said, Al-Shabab is far from a spent force.
"In fact, freed of the burden of actual governance ... the hardline extremists within Al-Shabab are now actually freer to evolve into a true terrorist organization and possibly pose a greater threat not just to Somalia, but to neighboring countries and possibly beyond," Pham said.
The loss of footholds across southern and central Somalia means the hardline remnants of Al-Shabab will not have access to the lucrative rackets that previously financed the group.
Even so, Will Hartley of IHS Jane's said Al-Shabab was capable of an attack similar to the suicide bombings in Kampala that killed 79 people watching the World Cup soccer final in 2010.
"Until they actually lost control of that last territory (Kismayu), Al-Shabab's energies were very much on Somalia," Hartley said.
"Having faced quite a significant setback which has severely damaged their prestige, they may well look to carry out high profile operations that will look to reestablish their reputation."

Clic here to read the story from its source.