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Keeping the Pressure on al-Shabaab

Soldiers of the Somali National Army (SNA) are seen displaying the Somali national flag in Saa'moja, around 7km north-west of the port city of Kismayo, in southern Somalia, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/AU-UN IST, Stuart Price)

“And play something with the words ‘Goodbye'.”

Somali national and African Union peacekeeping mission forces have entered Somalia’s key southern port of Kismayo after dislodging al-Shabaab terrorists who held the city for four years. Al-Shabaab will continue to pose a threat, but following the liberation of the capital Mogadishu, the joint military offensive shows continued progress is being made in bringing stability to Somalia and the region.

Keeping the Pressure on al-Shabaab
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Experiencing harsh administration under al -Shabaab’s extremist ideology and draconian rule, Kismayo’s residents are both wary and relieved by their departure. To help celebrate, a local man emailed the Voice of America’s Somali radio news service to ask that it play music on its broadcasts, something not heard in the city since the terror group took over in September 2008. “And play something with the words ‘Goodbye,” he wrote in a reference to the terrorists’ flight. Can dancing be next?

The United States welcomes the success of AMISOM and Somali forces in Kismayo, part of a larger strategy to defeat al-Shabaab and minimize its operating space. We are aware of the reports that some militant elements remain in the area and continue to threaten, and in some instances kill, civilians. This behavior underscores al-Shabaab’s destructive and violent impact on Somali society.

We support Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in his call to the citizens of Kismayo to remain calm and work with government forces and AMISOM to improve the city’s security situation.