By David Ochami in El Wak
This follows the ouster of the militia group from Burhache town. The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops are carrying out operations as far as Bardheere, more than 100 kilometres inside Somalia.
Abbas described Al Shabaab as "hyenas that will never change" and must be ousted by the use of force.
Despite providing some of the initial rationale for the Kenyan operation in the form of constant shelling of Kenyan towns, detonation of landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) like roadside bombs, and abduction of foreigners and Kenyan security forces, operations in the northern sector of Operation Linda Nchi are the least documented.
Geographically the sector extends from Gerille town below Wajir district in Kenya up to Mandera in the North, making it the largest sector that includes such important Somali towns as Bulla Hawa (or Beled Hawa as it is called), Damasa, Burhache, Busar, Garbaharey, Bardheere (an ancient Islamic studies town), Luuq, Dolo, Catamu and Busar among others.
The northern parts of the sector are mountainous with deep valleys within the Juba Valley river system while the Southern parts are drier plains with lighter population.
Ethnically, the region it is populated by ethnic Marehan and the late despot Muhamed Siad Barre is buried in Garbaharey. Some accounts state that Barre was born there, although other authorities suspect he was born in Ethiopia1s Ogaden region, but grew up in Garbaharey.
Historically Gedo and Puntland have been the source of Islamist militancy, including the rise in the 1990s of the defunct Al-Ittihad al-Islami (AIAI), the ideological predecessor of the former Islamic Courts Union and Al Shabaab, especially in the towns of Luuq and Dolo.
Smugglers, human traffickers and other transnational criminals who terrorise Kenya and Ethiopia had found a save haven in Gedoâs un-policed towns and hinterland.