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AU claims success against Al-Shabaab

By the CNN Wire Staff
December 29, 2011 -- Updated 1454 GMT (2254 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • African Union forces say they have pushed the terrorist group out of Mogadishu
  • They are expanding operations outside of the capital
  • The mission is to consolidate power for the transitional government

(CNN) -- African Union forces in Somalia have successfully pushed the Islamic militant group Al-Shabaab out of the capital Mogadishu, a commander told CNN Thursday.

The African Union Mission in Somalia, known as AMISOM, is trying to consolidate power for Somalia's weak transitional federal government in Mogadishu, where Al-Shabaab had been especially active in its battle against that government.

"We have managed to beat them off," said Maj. Gen. Fred Mugisha, force commander for AMISOM.

The government now has control of nearly 100% of the capital, he said.

"This is a very big achievement in my own view and the views of everybody else," he said.

Elbagir: World is 'failing' Somalia

Al-Shabaab is linked to al Qaeda and is considered a terrorist group by the United States.

In Mogadishu, the group was using conventional military tactics, terrorism and propaganda in its fight against the government.

But now, "they are conventionally defeated" in the capital, Mugisha said.

AMISOM is now expanding its forces into areas surrounding the capital, he said.

Other forces are fighting Al-Shabaab in Somalia as well.

Kenyan forces entered Somalia in October after a rash of kidnappings Kenyan authorities blamed on Al-Shabaab.

Kenyan officials say the kidnappings threatened security and constituted an attack on Kenyan sovereignty. Kenyan forces are ultimately seeking to take the Somali port city of Kismayo, described by the United Nations as a key stronghold and source of cash for Al-Shabaab.

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