KDF prepares for major offensive in Somalia

  • PDF

Addis Ababa, 12 August 2014 (WIC) - The Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) is preparing for a major assault since the heroic capture of Somalia's port city of Kismayu as they go for Jilip, another al-Shabaab stronghold.

KDF has been tasked with one of the toughest regions, still bedrock of the militants.

"There are now six sectors in our area of operation, with KDF responsible for Sector 2 that comprises Lower and Middle Jubba regions,"  said Colonel Ali Houmed, the AMISOM Spokesman.

Amisom has added two more sectors to make them six, as a more effective way of dealing with the militants.

Although the capture of Kismayu was supposed to fatally destroy al-Shabaab, it was never the case since the militants moved to the vast South-Central Somalia where they have been regrouping in towns such as Barawe, Jilip and Diinsoor.

Col Houmed said al-Shabaab managed to regroup because the ongoing operation is not a conventional warfare.

"We are now looking at asymmetric warfare, where there is no centre of gravity for al-Shabaab. We have radically weakened their military capabilities and there are few places they can now call a stronghold," he said.

Barawe is the town where US Special Forces were involved in an unsuccessful operation last year to hunt down one of the masterminds of the Westgate terror attack.

Ugandan Forces are expected to lead the onslaught on Barawe while Kenyans will head to Jilip. "From a sectoral perspective, priorities for KDF include liberating the towns of Jilib and Jamaame and they have already scored successes in this objective," Col Houmed added.

Al-Shabaab militants have been operating freely in Jilip, where they have ordered telecommunications companies to cut Internet services, abducted children who are trained as militants and banned the use of smartphones and satellite television for fear of being spied on.

The six sectors will be manned by different Amisom contributing troops jointly with the Somali National Army Forces.

Sector 2, whose vegetation is primarily semi-arid savannah with thorn bushes, comprises the districts of Kismayu, Jilib, Jamaame, Hagar, Afmadow, Badaadhe, Bua'ale and Sakow.

Sector 1 comprises Benadir and Lower Shabelle regions of the country and is commanded by Uganda People's Defence Forces.

And Sector 3 comprises Bay, Bakool and Gedo under the command of the Ethiopian National Defence Forces.

Sector 4 comprises Hiiraan and Galgaduud under Djibouti Defence Forces while Sector 5 is under Burundi National Defence Forces and covers Middle Shabelle region.

The last sector is 6 better known as Sector Kismayu, which has been a subject of controversy since the port city was captured by Kenyan troops in 2012. (allAfrica.com)