By David Ochami in Fafadun, South Somalia
Badheere is an Al Shabaab stronghold in Gedo Province, but the twin setbacks for the militants also saw them lose Sheikh Hassan Hussein, their top commander in the region, who was killed by a KDF mortar attack on a roadblock manned by the rebels. Kenya Defence Forces ( KDF) shelled the militants using guns mounted aboard 500MD Defender attack helicopters.
The Tuesday night attack also destroyed two Al Shabaab communication stations. For two weeks, Kenyan planes and helicopters have struck several targets, including suspected ammunition dumps, anti-aircraft and artillery batteries in Bardheere, Fafadun and El Ade, Al Shabaabâs remaining strongholds in Gedo region.
A resident in Fafadun told The Standard by radio that "there was a series of loud bangs outside the city yesterday (Tuesday) evening," in reference to the strikes and mortar barrage outside the town that wrecked Al Shabaab camps on the outskirts.
KDF reported no casualties in the Fafadun operation that lasted close to an hour. Al Shabaab has not issued a statement on the attack by the time of filing this report, but Somaliaâs Transitional Federal Government (TFG) sources said wounded Al Shabaab fighters were fleeing towards Bardheere.
This is the most eastward advance by the Kenyan forces in the Northern Sector since the start of the Kenyan military intervention in Somalia last year.
The capture of the two towns pushes Al Shabaab farther east towards the Juba River, limiting the militantsâ presence in two districts out of Gedoâs six.