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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