The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) assisted by Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) fighters stormed the Al-Shabaab stronghold of Fafadun on Wednesday evening and destroyed the militants’ base during a fierce exchange of fire.
Three Al-Shabaab fighters including one of the commanders in charge of the Gedo region identified as Sheikh Hassan Hussein were killed during the exchange, the Kenya military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir reported on social media.
“Out of the engagement 3 Al Shabaab killed, 2 AK 47, 3 Browning Pistols and 3 HF radios captured. 1 KDF slightly injured,” Maj Chirchir tweeted.
Maj Chirchir said the capture of Fafadun was vital as it was one of the few remaining Al-Shabaab bases in southern and central Somalia.
“With the capture of Fafadun, the KDF, TFG and Ethiopian troops now control 90 per cent of the Gedo region,” Maj Chirchir told Kenya’s Nation newspaper on telephone.
Besides pockets of the capital Mogadishu, the Al-Shabaab mainly operate in the Gedo region where they have imposed a strict version of the Sharia (Islamic) law which punishes offences such as adultery and stealing with harsh penalties such as beheading, stoning to death, amputation of limbs and public flogging.
Maj Chirchir maintained that KDF’s ultimate aim was to capture the port town of Kismayu and kick out the militants. The capture of Kismayu will effectively freeze the militants from the billions of shillings they collect in illegal taxes to fund their bloody insurgency in the Horn of Africa region.