By Dalton Kaweesa.
Forces of African Mission in Somalia (Amisom) have wrestled out of the strategic areas of the port city of Kismayu the heartless Al-Shabaab militants.
In a battle that raged on Thursday night, Amisom forces gained ground and accordingly expect the final fall of the port soon.
“At the weekend, Amisom jets had bombed the airport in Kismayu, destroying an armoury and warehouse used by the Islamist militants,” Colonel Ali Aden Houmed, Amisom spokesperson said.
Realising a lot of pressure mounted on them, over 25 members of the Al-Shabaab have turned themselves into UPDF forces.
The militants surrendered in Garesale after a bloody Balad operation engaged them.
The Uganda contingent commander Brig. Michael Ondoga said: “We shall continue to engage those still left behind, such that they come and join hands in contributing to the peace in Somalia.”
He said under the United Nations mandate, they are also expected to ensure that the conflict in Somalia is solved without use of violence.
“Through continued engagement, we expect more disengagement of the militants soon. This is a sign of the great desire by the Somali people to attain peace no sooner than now,” Brig. Ondoga said.
In a telephone interview, the Ugandan Contingent Public Information officer, Capt Henry Obbo revealed that apart from defections, other militants have since been captured in battles and special operations.
“Over the last one week we intercepted six militants. Four were intercepted aboard a vehicle along Balad-Jawher Road, whereas two were intercepted in a taxi on Marka-Afgooye Road, armed with rifles,” Obbo said.
He revealed that those intercepted are suspected to be part of the group that conduct targeted killings and suicide attacks in the city.
Describing them as ‘sneaking ins’, Obbo said the group takes advantage of the current massive civilian influx (business community) into Mogadishu.
He said the surrender of Al-shabaab fighters confirmed reports of serious divisions in Al-shabaab ranks.
“This is a sign of the militants conceding defeat across Somalia, and the dire need by the Somali people for immediate peace,” he said.
Al-Shabaab has been forced out of the capital, Mogadishu, and several other towns over the past years, but still controls much of the countryside in south and central Somalia.