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October 8, 2012 | by  | in News |
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Somalian Swapsies


Alongside allied militia groups, 450 Kenyan and Somalian soldiers stormed the port-town of Kismayu last Monday, flushing out the al-Shabaab rebel group.

Al-Shabaab is a cell of al-Qaeda that wishes to impose Sharia law across Somalia, which has been embroiled in almost relentless conflict following the collapse of its central government in 1991. The cell is an offshoot of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), who controlled most of Somalia until US supported Ethiopian forces invaded in 2006.

So, the soldiers stormed the town and after enduring heavy bombardment over the weekend from land, air and sea, the rebels fled.

So that’s good right? Yet many residents are reportedly still on edge about soldiers patrolling the sandy streets, narrow alleyways, and taking up position on rooftops.

They are cautiously optimistic and hope that life will be better now that al-Shabaab is out of their lives.

“Some people are happy to welcome them because they were fed up with the misrule of the al-Shabaab fighters,” Abdullahi Farey Hassan told AFP.

“But I will have my reservations until I see them doing something good. I hope they will be better than al-Shabaab.”

And it’s not over yet, according to an aggravated rebel spokesman.

“Their going in means falling into our trap. Just wait and see what will happen to them,” said Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab.

They are planning to turn the streets into a battlefield, and there are fears that they have planted mines throughout the town. But the Kenyan and Somali governments haven’t expressed much worry about it.

Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi said it was a “major blow” for al Shabaab that would be beneficial for the region.

The US government, never too impressed with militant Islamists, also conveyed their approval.

Al-Shabaab controls most southern and central areas, while the government only controls the capital, Mogadishu and a few other small areas. But it can now add Kismayu to the list.

Some entrepreneurial Somalis have taken advantage of the anarchic conditions and are getting involved in a bit of piracy.

Not the download-Rihanna’s-latest-album- and-get-a-warning-letter-from-your-ISP kind of piracy, more like steal-ships-and- take-hostages-until-a-ransom-is-paid kind of piracy. But we’re sure you knew about that already.

Hopefully for your average Somali, the capture of Kismayu is only the beginning of good news for what is most likely one of the worst places in the world to live.

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