By Patrick Mathangani in Dobley, Somalia
The full picture and impact of Operation Linda Nchi began to take shape as Kenyan troops and Somali soldiers drew their last military strategies to take over the entire Jubaland region.
The forces were planning to seize remaining towns in upper and lower Jubaland and Gedo in the coming three days before hitting Kismayu, an Al Shabaab stronghold key to dislodging the militia from the war-scarred country.
On Saturday, The Standard on Sunday also came face to face with the destruction left in the wake of the military onslaught to liberate Somalia from the terrorists linked to al-Qaeda. Somalia's Transtional Federal Government soldiers patrol Dobley on Saturday. Picture: Maxwell Agwanda
Somalia's Transtional Federal Government soldiers patrol Dobley on Saturday. Picture: Maxwell Agwanda
Kenyaâs forces were striking through three important routes as they continued to advance through towns already seized from Al Shabaab in a week of intense fighting. In Dobley, however, cheerful residents said they were happy with the support of Kenyan troops, saying they had been liberated from the militantsâ cruel rule.
TFGâs Major Mudu Mohammed said the forces were plotting to strike Tilip, Afmadow, Buale and Jamama before arriving in Kismayu. He said Kenyan soldiers were providing aerial support through bombardment, as well as shelling Al Shabaab hideouts to drive out the militants.
In one of the advance routes, Kenyan troops had entered Somalia through Elwak and had taken Busar. On Saturday, they were advancing toward Fafadun and were aiming to reach Bardere.
In the past week, more troops had advanced from Dobley to Tabta and Qoqaani. Together with the troops that advanced through Elwak, they are awaiting orders on an awaited major raid on Afmadow in coming days. The forces have dug in at Haya, a small hamlet about 25km from Afmadow.
The third route involved soldiers moving through Ras Kamboni. They are advancing toward Padmadow town. All the three routes will take the troops to Kismayu for the final onslaught against the terrorist movement.
Kismayu is the third largest city in greater Somalia after Mogadishu and Hargeisa, which is in Somaliland. The militia is reported to have dug in to protect their most important town, which is a major source for ransom money and has an international airport and harbour.