Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Kenyan troops have embarked on a mop-up operation against the Al Shabaab remnants in liberated towns in Southern Somalia, a military spokesman said Tuesday, indicating that the operation includes door-to-door searches.
Major Emmanuel Chirchir of the Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) said troops at the battle front were involved in patrols and pacification in the liberated areas and Al Shabaab pockets.
“This pacification patrols reinforce the operation objectives and facilitate access by international aid organizations in the liberated areas,” Chirchir said.
He said pacification patrol includes active door-to-door clearance of Al Shabaab remnants.
The operation kicked off days after the Kenyan troops backtracked on the initial plan to blockade the strategic port of Kismayu to cut off military supplies to the Al Shabaab, arguing that the plan might lead to an enhanced humanitarian crisis in Southern Somalia, which depends on Kismayu for relief supplies.
On Saturday, Colonel Cyrus Oguna, an Operations Commander, said the troops would not blockade the port of Kismayu because it was likely to antagonise the objective of bringing stability in Southern Somalia.
"We do not want to do something that would antagonise our objectives," Oguna said.
The Kenyan troops have gained control of several towns, including Ras Kamboni, Burgavo, Tabda, Dhobley, mostly in Southern Somalia and have been planning air strikes in 10 towns, some close to capital, Mogadishu, to dislodge the Al Shabaab from its bases.
The takeover of towns in Southern Somalia is part of a plan to move towards the port of Kismayu.
The Al Shabaab has also been gearing up for a tight defence of its strongholds of Kismayu and Afmadow. An operation commander in the southern sector was quoted in a report Tuesday, as saying the battle for Kismayu would be fought at a time designated by the Kenyan troops and on its own terms.
However, preparations have been underway to lift heavy military equipment to back the first battalion in its battle against the Al Shabaab.
-0- PANA AO/BOS 8Nov2011