The Freeland File
Aerospace & Defense
Global Market Data
Lucy P. Marcus
David Cay Johnston
The Great Debate
Jack & Suzy Welch
Macro & Markets
Lipper Awards 2012
Personal Finance Video
Photos of the week
Our best photos from the past week. Slideshow
Images of August
Montana governor sees big savings with new state health clinic
29 Sep 2012
Muslim protesters torch Buddhist temples, homes in Bangladesh
Insight: Mom and pop investors miss out on stock market gains
Azerbaijan eyes aiding Israel against Iran
Five things to watch in the presidential debate
France taxes rich and business to slash deficit
Netanyahu to press for Iran ”red line” in U.N. speech
Iran ready to defend against Israeli attack: Ahmadinejad
Our day's top images, in-depth photo essays and offbeat slices of life. See the best of Reuters photography. See more | Photo caption
China's self-made man
Sun Jifa lost his forearms in a dynamite fishing accident and couldn't afford to buy prosthesis, so he and his nephews built their own new arms. Slideshow
Photos of the week
Our top photos from the past week. Slideshow
Kenya navy shells Somali town after rebels retreat
Two Kenyan police shot dead near Somalia border
Kenya navy shells Somali town after rebels announce retreat
Child killed in Kenya church grenade attack
Ancient market burns as fighting rages in Syria's Aleppo
Sat, Sep 29 2012
Somalia's al Shabaab rebels pull out of Kismayu bastion
Sat, Sep 29 2012
Analysis & Opinion
The Maasai woman saving vaginas, one girl at a time
Poor Kenyan women robbed of choice to give birth
1 of 20. Brigadier Anthony Ngere (L), African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) commander of Sector Two and head of the Kenyan contingent serving with AMISOM, speaks with senior officers at their sector headquarters in Dhobley, southern Somalia, in this September 30, 2012 handout photo released by the African Union-United Nations Information Support. Kenyan warships shelled the southern Somali port of Kismayu overnight, the last stronghold of al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab rebels, after the rebels said they had abandoned the city, residents said on Sunday. Al Shabaab, which formally merged with al Qaeda in February, has been steadily losing its footholds under sustained pressure from African Union peacekeeping forces (AMISOM) and Somali government troops for the past year.
Credit: Reuters/Stuart Price/African Union-United Nations Information Support/Handout
By Abdi Sheikh and Feisal Omar
Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:23pm EDT
MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Kenyan warships shelled the southern Somali port of Kismayu overnight after al Qaeda-linked rebels said they had abandoned the city, residents said on Sunday.
Stunned by an assault by sea, air and ground forces late on Friday night, al Shabaab rebels fled the city that had been their key source of revenue, retreating to surrounding forests and towns.
However, there were conflicting reports on Sunday evening about how much of Kismayu African Union forces (AMISOM) now controlled.
The Kenya Defence Force (KDF), part of AMISOM, said it had seized the sea port, the police headquarters and the radio station, but a source in the Somalia National Army told Reuters AMISOM was close to taking control of those installations but had not yet done so.
The shells being fired by Kenyan warships may have been targeting remaining pockets of resistance or military installations in the city that was the rebels' last stronghold.
"The ships were firing deafening shells at the outskirts last night but several shells landed on houses," said Samira Ismail, a local mother of four.
Al Shabaab said two children had been killed and other people wounded in the shelling, a statement rejected as propaganda by Col. Cyrus Oguna, a Kenyan military spokesman.
Kenyan and Somali troops sent to retake Kismayu from the rebels were on the town's outskirts, Oguna said earlier on Sunday, and were proceeding carefully in case al Shabaab's claim to have abandoned the city was a ploy to lure them into a trap.
"The troops are consolidating and making plans to expand into the southern part of the city," Oguna told Reuters.
"A lot of caution must be exercised here. We don't want to get into a situation where we start to lose troops here and there."
The southern part is the city center and whoever wins it will effectively have control over the port and other strategic installations.
The KDF and the Somalia National Army, fighting under the flag of the African Union force in Somalia (AMISOM), have not suffered any casualties in the operation, Oguna said.
An al Shabaab official said that although the group had ceded control of Kismayu, its fighters were poised to engage the allied troops once they entered the city.
"We are just waiting for the AU and Somali troops to enter the town. We shall fight them in streets and alleys. We abandoned the town. Why don't they go in if they have the guts?" Sheikh Hudayfa Abdirahman, the group's head of Jubba region, told Reuters.
In Kenya's capital Nairobi, a nine-year-old boy was killed and three children wounded by a hand grenade thrown into a Sunday school session in a church on Sunday, an act police said was the work of al Shabaab sympathizers.
Two police officers were also shot dead in the northern Kenyan town of Garissa close to the border with Somalia, police said.
"FIGHT THE ENEMIES IN MUDDY JUNGLES"
Somalia analysts said although al Shabaab had retreated, it was far from vanquished.
The rebel group, which counts foreign al Qaeda-trained fighters among its ranks, is seen as one of the biggest threats to stability in the Horn of Africa. It has received advice from al Qaeda's leadership, counter-terrorism experts say.
The insurgents, who once controlled swathes of the lawless Horn of Africa country, have turned to guerrilla tactics, harrying the weak government of newly-elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud with suicide bombings and assassinations.
Abdirahman said the onset of rains would help al Shabaab fight back.
"We shall fight the enemies in the muddy jungles between Kismayu and Kenya. Enemies will be stuck in the mud. We are sure the enemies will never rule peacefully," he said.
Kismayu residents said the chaos was causing hardship.
"Food prices and dollar value have risen a bit this morning. If the situation remains this way for days, we anticipate inflation and then starvation," said shopkeeper Abdullahi Nur.
Some civilians fled the city in minibuses on rough roads that twist through the surrounding jungles.
"I will also evacuate my children if Kismayu does not change positively," said Ismail, the mother of four.
(Additional reporting and writing by Duncan Miriri in Nairobi; Editing by Andrew Osborn)
Related Quotes and News
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Be the first to comment on reuters.com.
Add yours using the box above.
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.