By Vitalis Kimutai in Afmadhow, Somalia
It could just be days before KDF strikes the heart of the terror cell, having just liberated Afmadhow.
Kismayu doubles up as administrative headquarters of Lower Juba, is the main base of Al-Shabaab and is considered its economic lifeline.
The Islamic Courts Union (ICU) took over the town in 2006 but it was overrun by Al-Shabaab in August 2008.
Intelligence reports indicate that the warlords operating from Kismayu have been forcibly recruiting local youths into the cell and deploying them to fight KDF’s take-over of major towns adjacent to Kismayu.
The key towns that KDF is seeking to liberate from the hands of the militia before shifting the fight to Kismayu are: Jilib, Aglibha, Buula Haji, Bardhere and Bibi.
“The decision to strike Kismayu will be made by AMISOM ( African Union Mission in Somalia) and Kenyan soldiers will ensure that all the major towns neighbouring ( Kismayu) are liberated,” Colonel Cyrus Oguna, the KDF spokesman said.
Following the fierce assault by KDF, Al-Shabaab fighters have lately adopted the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) planted on key roads used by Kenya’s advancing soldiers.
“The militia group gets supplies of IEDs from countries that support terrorism in the name of religion,” Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Nyagah, the Commander of KDF’s first brigade said.