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Kenya - Somalia

Heavy rain holds up Kenya's anti-Shebab offensive


A month after Kenya launched its military offensive against Somalia's al Shebab insurgents the Nairobi government is warning that the operation is likely to be lengthy.


Kenya deployed its forces across the border on 14 October, following a series of kidnappings of foreigners on Kenyan soil and incursions by the Islamist insurgents.

When it launched its offensive, Nairobi said it would attack 10 al Shebab-held towns in the south.

But today its troops are far from achieving that goal.

After initially pushing some 100 kilometres into Somalia, Kenyan forces have since made little progress.

They have fought few ground battles and are yet to attack many of the 10 southern Somali towns believed to be al Shebab strongholds that they said they would strike.

The main target was the town of Afmadow, 150 kilometres from the Kenyan border.

The town is believed to be a strategic transit point for the insurgents' smuggling operations through the port of Kismayu.

Kenyan troops are about 10 kilometres away from Afmadow but heavy rains have been hampering their advance, according to army spokesperson, Major Emmanuel Chirchir.

Military analysts are warning that the Kenyan army's slow progress, could give the insurgents an advantage, allowing them enough time to reorganise their defences and move their finances elsewhere.

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