Street FIGHT:
Heavy Fighting in Southern Somalia
TFG-Allied Troops Declare Victories
By AWEYS CADDE 01/05/2012
Kenyan Military
Somalia Report
Kenyan Military

Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces, with the support of the Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF), pro-government militias of Ras Kamboni, and the moderate Islamic Ahlusunna Waljamaa (ASWJ) militia, have advanced on southern Somalian districts controlled by al-Shabaab, according to reports from Lower Juba and Gedo.   At least 25 people were killed and more than 40 injured when four separate instances of fighting broke out in Gedo and Lower Juba over the last 24 hours.

The heaviest fighting took place in Hayo village near the Afmadow district of Lower Juba, when TFG-allied forces attacked al-Shabaab bases late on Wednesday. Chief Commander of the Ras Kamboni militia, Sheikh Mohamud Khalid, confirmed that the fighting took place, declaring victory over al-Shabaab.

“We seized Hayo village and killed eight al-Shabaab militants. We also seized a number of weapons, including ten machine guns and some explosive devices. During the fighting three of our fighters died and three others were injured,” he told Somalia Report.

“Our mission is to reach Afmadow within the next 24 hours, and then move on to Kismayo and other al-Shabaab controlled districts. We have appealed to local people to inform us of any al-Shabaab movement,” he added.

Gedo Fighting

Meanwhile, at least 15 people were killed when the Ethiopian troops, supported by ASWJ and TFG forces, attacked four villages in Gedo region on Tuesday.

“We attacked and captured four main villages including Elad, Elgadud, Dhegalab and Takar, and dozens of the extremist group were killed. Since the operation began, al-Shabaab militants have fled their camps in Gedo region," an ASWJ spokesman in southern Somalia told Somalia Report.

Kenyan military spokesman, Major Emmanuel Chirchir, claimed that Kenyan forces killed Sheikh Hassan Hussein, an al-Shabaab commander in Fafahdun village of Gedo.

“Over the course of the operation, three al-Shabaab militants were killed, and one member of the KDF sustained injuries. Two AK-47s, three Browning pistols and three HF radios were seized. The KDF captured Fafadun, one of al-Shabaab's remaining outposts in southern and central Somalia. With the capture of Fafadun, the KDF, TFG and Ethiopian troops now control 90 per cent of the Gedo region,” Maj Chirchir tweeted.

Al-Shabaab chairman in Gedo region, Sheikh Abbbas Abdulaahi, denied the ASWJ and TFG claims.

“They wanted to attack Fafadun, but we learned of their plan and ambushed them in Jirbodo, near Fafadun. We forced them to return to their bases after we killed dozens of them. We also captured one military vehicle from Ethiopian infidels, and burned another,” he told Somalia Report on Thursday.

Somalia Report confirmed that TFG, KDF and Ethiopian forces captured all the villages they attacked on Tuesday and Wednesday. Fighting was reportedly heavy, with both sides sustaining casualties. There are some reports that civilians also suffered in the battle.

TFG forces, Ethiopian troops and the Kenyan military are on the verge of entering Afmadow and Bardhere, two of te main districts of Gedo and Lower Juba region.   TFG forces were forced to halt their offensive in these areas two months ago, when heavy rains made roads impassable. The land has now dried up, however, which has made the operation more achievable.

Fighting Breaks Out in the Capital

Meanwhile, three people were confirmed dead after al-Shabaab insurgents fought against AMISOM peacekeepers in Mogadishu early on Thursday.

The fighting erupted when al-Shabaab fighters launched a hit and run attack on TFG and AMISOM bases in the Industrial Street, Hiliwa and Daynile districts.

“Three people, including two from one family and one woman, died after mortar hit their house in Sukahola village, and two others were badly injured,” local resident, Yahye Nur, told Somalia Report.

One pro-al-Shabaab radio station in Mogadishu reported on the incident.

“The Mujahideen entered a number of buildings, inflicting substantial losses to the enemy. The people of Mogadishu witnessed the attack, and ambulances rushed to the scene and transported the wounded to the local hospital."

No immediate comments available from TFG and AMISOM.