SOMALIA: Al Shabaab officials begin to flee from Kismayo- sources
Kismayo (RBC) Senior Al Shabaab leaders in Jubba region begun to flee from Kismayo town after the government forces with the backing of Kenyan troops and local militia approached the strategic town of Kismayo, sources told RBC Radio.
Reliable sources in the region confirmed that Sheikh Mukhtar Robow abu Mansur who was Al Shabaab’s former spokesperson, Ibrahim Haji Me’ad (better known Ibrahim Afghan) who is Al Shabaab’s deputy commander and Sheikh Hassan Yacqub, the commander of Kismayo were among the officials departed from Kismayo.
The Kenyan army- under African Union and Somali government forces have captured the town of Afmadow, the second largest town in the south and only 115km (71 miles) from Kismayo. Kismayo is still a strategic militant base in the south of the country and important Al-Shabaab’s headquarters.
Officials of Somalia National Security Agency in Mogadishu have earlier said that they obtained credible information claiming that families of some of Al Shabaab’s senior leaders moved to Bur’o town in the breakaway region of Somaliland and some parts of the Galmudug region in the central of the country.
The security officials mentioned also that after taking over Afgoye town in the Lower Shabelle most of Al Shabaab’s foreign fighters have fled to Merka town and some have crossed into Yemen through the red sea between Somalia and Yemen.
The group has also announced in February that they were moving to Galgala mlountains in semi-autonomous region of Puntland where other islamist militias were already battling against the Puntland administration.
Al Shabaab which is waging heavy offensive inside Somalia is now preparing to counter the operations by the AMISOM forces and the Somali Transitional Federal Government troops.