Kenyan troops in Somalia say they are eyeing Kismayu Port following reports of retreat by Al Shabaab militants from the island.

Reports indicated the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and those of Transitional Federal Government are in Buurgabo about 30 kilometres from Kudhaa Island that has been the bedrock of the militants.

Military spokesman Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir. Photo by Jenipher Wachie

Military spokesman, Maj Emmanuel Chirchir, said they are eying Kismayu.

“Al Shabaab retreats; KDF/TFG eyes Kismayu with military precision,” said Chirchir in a Twitter posting on Sunday morning.

Locals reported that militants left Kudhaa, 70 kilometres from Kismayu after the takeover of Badhadhe by the troops last week.

One Al Shabaab militant told a gathering in a mosque last Friday that they were leaving the area to change their guerilla tactics.

Train recruits

Kudhaa was a main base to train newly recruited militia and foreign fighters. It is an island where senior militant leaders Abu Cuteyba and Abu Yahye al-Libi were killed in a drone attack a few weeks ago.

On Friday, Kenyan gunships attacked the militants’ strongholds as the troops advanced towards the port killing about 100 of them.

Chirchir said they targeted Dalayat, a small town North East of Badhade, that troops took over last week, which had about 200 militants at the time of attack.

“Al Shabaab were concentrated in this town to launch a counter attack on Badhade. Al Shabaab strength was estimated over 200 men,” Chirchir said.

“Nine technicals and trucks have been destroyed. Over 100 estimated fighters killed, many injured,” he added.

No injuries were reported on the locals and the troops. The militants had over 20 vehicles at this position with eight top commanders at the time of the KDF struck.

By Cyrus Ombati, The Standard

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