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epa03380432 A photograph dated 01 September 2012 and made available on 02 September 2012 shows Somali government soldiers standing guard at a beach in Marka, Somalia. African Union forces said the troops seized the port town of Marka from al-Shabab on 27 August 2012. The loss of Marka, some 80km south of the capital Mogadishu, is another blow for al-Shabab and leaves the militants in control of two more ports in southern Somalia, Kismayo and Barawe. EPA/ELYAS AHMED +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Kenya claims key victory

September 28, 2012

After an overnight operation, Kenya is claiming a victory in a raid on the final port city held by al Qaeda militants in Somalia. This claim is disputed by locals in Kismayo.


The port city of Kismayo in Somalia was raided by Kenyan troops in an overnight attack. The troops used a beach landing to start the assault.

"Ships have brought Kenyan troops on our Kismayu beach last night," said Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabab's spokesman for military operations, in an interview with Reuters. "Fierce fighting between us and them is going on now."

Victory was claimed by the Kenyans early on Friday, saying they were now in control of what it said was the last remaining port city in Somalia held by al-Shabab militants, who are linked to al Qaeda.

The Kenyans' claim was disputed, however, by locals who said that the port - but not the whole city - was under the troops' control. The beach where the troops landed is located on the outskirts of the city. Residents also reported that al-Shabab's radio station was still operating.

Kenya is one country taking part in an African Union peacekeeping force charged with taking out rebel strongholds. The force pushed al-Shabab out of the capital, Mogadishu, in 2011.

mz/rg (Reuters, AFP, AP)