Lawlessness in Somali port city

MOGADISHU, Sept 30: Lawlessness is reigning in the Somali port city of Kismayo, where gunmen have killed at least three people since the Al Qaeda-linked Shebab abandoned their last bastion there, residents said on Sunday.

After Kenyan and Somali troops’ advances towards the strategic port forced the Islamists to abandon it Saturday, the Kenyan army said helicopter gunships were attacking Shebab bases outside the city to clear the way for a final ground assault to occupy the city.

However, the power vacuum created by what the Islamists called their “tactical retreat” left Kismayo exposed to chaos Sunday as residents waited for the Kenyan and Somali forces to arrive.

Since the retreat of the Islamists, who ruled Kismayo with an iron fist, unidentified gunmen have killed at least three civilians, including a traditional leader, according to residents interviewed by phone from Mogadishu.

The Kenyan army said it was doing everything possible to ensure its forces took control of the city “safely” and “in good time”.

“We have received reports of the lawlessness within parts of the city....

We want to assure the civilians of Kismayo that their calls for order have been heard,” Kenya Defence Forces spokesman Cyrus Oguna said.—AFP

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