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Businesses open in Kismayo amid relative calm

Thursday, October 04, 2012

NAIROBI, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- Businesses which had closed in southern Somalia city of Kismayo have reopened as relative calm returned to once Al-Shabaab stronghold, Kenya's military official said on Thursday.

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and Somalia National Army (SNA) said no major incidents have taken place after the troops took full control of the strategic city from the rebels who have been fighting the internationally-backed government.

"Domination of the port city town by AMISOM troops is in progress. Several businesses have opened and the locals' daily routine is slowly returning," KDF spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

Oguna said Kenyan forces that are part of the UN-backed Africa Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and SNA within Sector II are firmly in control of the port city of Kismayo city.

"The troops are in control of areas with key installations and facilities such as the sea port, police station, Walsheda i.e. the port city factory, the former State House and the two airports," Oguna said.

He said the troops are also monitoring the movement in and out of town at control points erected outside the town.

"It should be appreciated that security is not fully stabilized as it is suspected that there are Al-Shabaab remnants who could be hiding with the local populace. However so far no major incidents have been reported," Oguna said.

The insurgents on Sept. 29 confirmed they have abandoned their offices in the city located in southern Somalia but vowed to continue with their battle against the AMISOM forces.

The militants said the withdrawal was a tactical retreat but vowed to keep on fighting until they defeat the Kenyan troops and allied forces.

Al-Shabaab announcement came after an assault on the city by AMISOM troops who had been trying to liberate the civilians in the key city.

But Oguna said AMISOM troops are set to begin clearing buildings initially used by the militants who formally merged with the dreaded global terror network, the al Qaida, after several years of pledging loyalty and ideological similarities.

Oguna said the soldiers have embarked on a confidence building to the locals by providing a secure environment for the locals to curve a leadership structure that will support AMISOM efforts to ensure the peace process is sustainable in the long term.

Kismayo used to supply the insurgents with steady income in the form of taxes and is an extremely strategic city for Al-Shabaab fighters who had reportedly reinforced their numbers in the port city which is home to top leadership of the ragtag.

The AMISOM forces called on the remaining militants to lay down their arms and join hands with their brothers in the pacification of their country.



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