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Spot Analysis: Kismayo, Somalia (Q 183)

*Disclaimer* This is a spot analysis performed by interns at Mercyhurst University and is not an official opinion of any institution or sponsor.  Spot analyses will be issued periodically by Mercyhurst interns assigned to the DAGGRE Project.

Will any government force gain control of the Somali town of Kismayo before 1 November 2012?

Research points

  • Shabab-militant group have maintained strategic control of Kismayo since 2009.  They bolstered defenses in November 2011 and have been linked to Al Qaeda.
  • Somalian government/military-Currently contesting control of Kismayo.  The troops are facing political dissension which is preventing them from taking action.
  • AU troops (AMISOM)
  • Kenya (troops)-The close proximity of Kismayo to Kenya has led to several encounters between the Shabab and the Kenyan troops.  Shabab has been victorious in most of these cases, still maintaining their ground in Kismayo.
  • Ethiopia (troops)-There have been conflicts with Ethiopian troops as well.

Significance: Kismayo is a port city that is the center of trade for this southern most region of Somalia.  The safety and security of the residents of the city are at risk and flight from the city has presented its own issues.

Background: The coastal Somalian city of Kismayo has been a contested town for years now, between the forces of al-Shabab and government forces.  The town is the last stronghold and financial center for the militant group al-Shabab.  In an article from Voice of America Mohammed Yusuf claims that current clan rivalries and “political wrangling” could be hindering the capture of the city by Somali government forces and/or AU troops.  Residents have fled the city, anticipating an attack on Shabab.

The transfer of command of Kismayo to any of the military forces from the Shabab is completely dependent upon the quelling of the political disputes, which are preventing the forces from taking action now.