Kenya Defence Force now has its sights trained on Al-Shabaab’s last frontier and lifeline town of Kismayu, Somalia’s third largest town.
It could just be days before KDF strikes the heart of the terror cell, having just liberated Afmadhow.
Kismayu doubles up as administrative headquarters of Lower Juba, is the main base of Al-Shabaab and is considered its economic lifeline.
The Islamic Courts Union (ICU) took over the town in 2006 but it was overrun by Al-Shabaab in August 2008.
Intelligence reports indicate that the warlords operating from Kismayu have been forcibly recruiting local youths into the cell and deploying them to fight KDF’s take-over of major towns adjacent to Kismayu.
The key towns that KDF is seeking to liberate from the hands of the militia before shifting the fight to Kismayu are: Jilib, Aglibha, Buula Haji, Bardhere and Bibi.
In an effort to prevent KDF from advancing further, the terror group’s fighters are said to be keen on protecting a key bridge linking Afmadhow and Kismayu.
“The decision to strike Kismayu will be made by AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) and Kenyan soldiers will ensure that all the major towns neighbouring (Kismayu) are liberated,” Colonel Cyrus Oguna, the KDF spokesman said.
Read more on The Standard – KDF goes for Al-Shabaab’s heart – June 18, 2012