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Somalia: Ethiopia commander says ‘not a problem to liberate Kismayo’

The commander of Ethiopia’s military in Somalia stated that it is not a problem for his military to capture Kismayo, a stronghold of Al Shabaab, Raido Garowe reports.

On Friday, a security meeting was held in Baidoa capital of Bay region, which was attended by speaker of parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan and top military officials from the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia and Ethiopia, including Maj. General John, commander of Ethiopian troops in southern Somalia.

Maj. Gen. John who spoke at the meeting said that Ethiopia fulfilled there mission in Somalia which included forcing Al Shabaab insurgents from their strongholds in Bay and Bakool region in south central Somalia.

"Truthfully Ethiopia has fulfilled its mission in Somalia, and it is not a problem for our military to liberate the port city of Kismayo," said Maj. Gen. John.

General John also said that he was surprised that Kenya’s military in southern Somalia still did not capture the port stronghold for Al Shabaab. “Around the date we captured Baidoa from Al Shabab militants, Kenyan troops were to do the same with Kismayo, but I don’t know what went wrong with the plan,” said Maj. Gen John.

Kenya who joined the battle against Al Shabaab in Somalia in October of last year, has yet to capture the stronghold of Kismayo with its military making little progress against the Al Shabaab in southern Somalia.

Gen. John added that the Ethiopian military would eliminate Al Shabaab from Bay and Bakool regions where the terror group still remain. Although Ethiopia’s military with the help of TFG forces were successful in ridding Al Shabaab from two main cities Baidoa and Beledweyne in south central Somalia, Al Shabaab agents still remain in villages and towns in those regions.

Ethiopia’s commander in southern Somalia stated that Kismayo would be liberated from Al Shabaab in a joint operation with Kenya and Somali forces, however he did not mention a date in which the joint operation will occur.

Source: Garowe Online – May 19 2012

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