The Kenya Defence Forces and the Somalia National Army troops say they have taken control of the last stronghold of the Al-Shabaab militia group.
The ministry of Defence in Nairobi said KDF and the SNA, under Amisom, captured Kuday Town in Middle Jubbaland yesterday.
“Scores of al-Shabaab fighters were killed, five vehicles destroyed and assorted weapons and ammunition seized,” said Department of Defence Public Affairs boss David Obonyo. He did not give the number of casualties.
“This is a major loss to the militia as it limits its freedom of action,” said Col Obonyo.
The town is considered a key logistical and operational base for the militants.
It was the second time the town was being bombed by Amisom in less than a year. In June 2014, Kenyan fighter jets shelled the al-Qaeda-linked group’s base, killing more than 80 of its fighters.
The assault on the villages of Anole and Kuday, in Lower Jubba, south of Middle Jubba, was part of an effort to “liberate” Somalia from the group’s grip, said Amisom.
This was a response to the June 2014 attacks in Mpeketoni in which 60 people were killed and property worth millions set ablaze. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility but the government said criminal gangs funded by politicians were behind the attack.
KDF moved into Somalia in October 2011 to pursue Al-Shabaab after several kidnappings in Kenya. The troops were later integrated into Amisom in February 2012 after the UN Security Council endorsed the move.
Yesterday, DOD said the entire Sector 2 in which the KDF serve is now fully under the control of Amisom.
Amisom is an UN-backed AU mission helping to stabilise Somalia after two decades of strife. Sector 2 is headquartered in the recently liberated city of Kismayu and comprises Lower and Middle Jubba regions of Somalia.