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Al-Shabaab fighters defect as battle intensify on all corners

Tigrai Online
Jan. 08 2012

Al-Shabaab terrorist - Tigrai Online Dozens of Al-Shabaab fighters have defected since December and joined the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers as dual military operation intensify in the south of the Horn of Africa nation.

Kenya’s military said on Saturday that serious divisions have also emerged within the Somali militant group’s leadership, a development which the authorities said has contributed to recent defections.

Kenya Defense Force (KDF)’s head of operations, Colonel Cyrus Oguna, said the troops are encountering less resistance as Al- Shabaab’s strength is reducing and is expecting more defections soon.

"So far since the military incursion over three months ago about 30 militants have defected and in the last two weeks alone, 20 have defected including a captain," Oguna told a weekly media briefing in Nairobi.

"The captain is helping us with vital information on the plans of the militant group.

"We will also keep hitting them until their spine is completely broken and we will relish that moment soon," Oguna said two days after the KDF and TFG soldiers killed more than 60 militants in southern Somalia.

The incident came days after the Kenyan forces killed a top Al- Shabaab commander who has been offering crucial leads regarding the group’s operations and also after capturing one more town.

During the engagement on Thursday, three Al-Shabaab fighters were killed, two AK-47, three Browning pistols and three HF radios were impounded.

Only one KDF fighter suffered minor injuries during operation.

Oguna said the capture of Fafadun was vital as it was one of the few remaining Al-Shabaab bases in southern and central Somalia.

"We have received intelligence that suggests that most top commanders of the Al-Shabaab are planning to locate their families to safer northern towns close to Puntland," he said on Saturday.

He noted that among the factors causing divisions within the Al- Shabaab leadership is management of the scarce resources and deployment of foreign fighters.

The military official added that the ban on fishing on the coastline in the border of Kenya and Somalia is still in force, but added that KDF will provide a window in cooperation with the local community in the area to allow fishing in order not to deny residents their source of livelihood.

Source, Coast Week