Street FIGHT:Conflict
Pro-Government Forces Advance in Mogadishu
Slow Spread Throughout Capital Still Facing Al-Shabaab Resistance
By AWEYS CADDE, AK 08/16/2011
AU tanks based at the former al-Shabaab base of Stadium Mogadishu
©Somalia Report
AU tanks based at the former al-Shabaab base of Stadium Mogadishu

The African Union peacekeeping force (known as AMISOM) and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops extended the territory under their control in Mogadishu Tuesday, residents and officials said.

Militant Islamist group al-Shabaab abandoned its major bases in Mogadishu ten days ago, but pockets of fighters have been left behind to resist the cautious advances of pro-government forces.

Early on Tuesday, TFG and AMISOM troops spread out from their bases in Siisii and Stadium Mogadishu, facing resistance from the remnants of al-Shabaab’s forces. The troops took control of Fagah junction, Hotel Ramadan, Hotel Kaah, Ex -mali TV centre, Towfik junction, Ahmed Gurey School, Jungle and Towfik market.

“Early this morning we saw AMISOM and TFG forces spreading into the village and standing in front of every house,” said a resident in Jungle village, “They investigated our house; over the last days some al-Shabaab fighters were based here, but I think they vacated last night.”

Two fighters were killed and three others injured, including a government soldier, in Yaqshid, according to an eyewitness, while another four were killed in Karan.

A TFG military officer, Abdulaahi Ali Anod confirmed to Somalia Report that their troops reached new areas in the capital and vowed that they will seize Suqa-Xolaha village as soon as possible.

“The extremists have run away from the capital two weeks ago, but we are carefully reaching their empty bases,” he said “This morning we kicked off operations in Yaqshid and Huliwa area, though some elements fired on us, but we took control most of those villages”.

“From now, we are going to reach Suqa-xolaha, former spaghetti factory, and Sos junction,” he added.

Al-Shabaab said it had left its bases as a shift in tactics from conventional warfare to traditional insurgent tactics of hit-and-run ambushes and bomb attacks. A senior leader admitted that the group was unable to stand up against the superior forces of the AU in Mogadishu, which has tanks and armored vehicles at its disposal.