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Vol 53 No 20

Published 5th October 2012


Takeover at Kismayo

Kenya takes Al Shabaab by surprise but raises questions about its choice of leaders for the port city and its ability to manage the politics

The battle for Kismayo was anything but the decisive contest many expected, we can report, now that more details of the fighting have emerged. Al Haraka al Shabaab al Mujahideen had promised not to give up Kismayo without ‘bloody battle’, in the words of its Spokesman, Ali Mohamud Rage. This marked an apparent reversal of its policy of not contesting major towns. Yet when the African Union Mission in Somalia landed forces by sea ten kilometres up the coast on 28 September, Al Shabaab was taken by surprise and decided to retreat, said sources close to the Islamists.

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