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Militants defecting to Somali side after losses
Friday, June 15, 2012

Elasha Biyaha: Somalia's government spokesman says some 500 al-Shabab fighters have left the group and joined the government in a sign of disarray among the Islamist group's ranks.

Abdirahman Omar Osman said yesterday that defections have been increasing since African Union and Somali troops captured the militant-held town of Afgoye outside Mogadishu last month. Abshir Ali Mohamed left al-Shabab this month. He believes the conservative militant movement will soon end.

He said the group is suffering heavy losses.

African forces have been battling al-Shabab on three sides for the last several months. Kenyan forces are expected to attack the al-Shabab-held port town of Kismayo in coming weeks. Kismayo is the last major stronghold al-Shabab still controls.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga promised this week that Kenyan troops would take Kismayo by August.



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