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Somalia: Peacekeepers Drive Militants From Capital’s Suburbs

The Nation (Nairobi)

Abdulkadir Khalif and agencies

20 January 2012

Mogadishu — Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government and African Union peacekeepers waged an all out attack early Friday on members of radical Islamist group Al-Shabaab.

The pro-government alliance kicked the militants out of the suburbs of the Somali capital Mogadishu.

Through Al-Andalus, a series of broadcasters run the fanatical movement, the Islamist militants admitted to have lost their last positions on the outskirts of Mogadishu.

In the northern sections of Mogadishu, residents in Heliwa District confirmed that the TFG forces and Amisom peacekeepers advanced beyond the strategic Suuqa Hoolaha and Waharaadde neighbourhoods.

Other sources confirmed that the pro-government forces cleared Al-Shabaab fighters of Daynile District, including the strategic Gupta neighbourhood and the main campus of Mogadishu University.

Colonel Abdullahi Ali, the Somali military commander, told the media that the pro-government forces are in complete control of Mogadishu.

“The city is in our hands,” said Col Ali. Al-Shabaab officials, however, were reluctant to accept defeat. “The war will not end that way,” they stated via the media.

“The government forces assisted by Amisom peacekeepers took control of the small part in northern Mogadishu where violent elements have remained,” Col Ali told reporters.

“Our troops fought bravely, achieving their objective to secure the northern frontier of the city,” Amisom said in a statement, reporting to have taken control of the Mogadishu University and Barakat Cemetery areas.

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