Connect to share and comment

African Union, Somali forces take control of Kismayo, key port city and last Al Shabaab stronghold

The city of Kismayo in southern Somalia was the last stronghold of Islamist militants Al Shabaab, but has now been secured by African Union and Somali forces.

Kismayo somalia 20121002Enlarge
Kismayo, Somalia is pictured on September 28, 2012. Kismayo was the last major bastion of the Shebab, who have lost most of their other strongholds to the 17,000-strong African Union force, of which Kenya is a part, as well as allied Ethiopian forces. The KDF have been aiming to take Kismayo ever since they rolled troops and tanks across the border to fight the Islamist extremists almost a year ago. (STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

African Union forces along with Somali government troops on Tuesday took full control of the port city of Kismayo in southern Somalia.

Kismayo was the last stronghold of Islamist militants Al Shabaab. The Al Qaeda-linked group abandoned the city on the weekend.

Major Emmanuel Chirchir, a Kenyan military spokesman, posted on Twitter that once the new airport has been secured, it will be used for military landings.

According to the BBC, people in Kismayo said the Somali national flag had been hoisted by the army over the governor's office.

Military checkpoints have been set up in the city, and soldiers are patrolling, the BBC said.

The Associated Press reported that remnants of the Al Shabaab militants executed seven civilians who did not support them in the southern part of Kismayo on Monday, according to the Kenyan military.

Kismayo had been an important source of funding for the group since it was forced out of Mogadishu in August 2011.

Al Shabaab had used Kismayo's port to bring in weapons. The group had funded itself largely by charging taxes on goods arriving at the port.

More from GlobalPost: Somalia gears up for final offensive against Al Shabaab

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/somalia/121002/african-union-somali-forces-take-control-kismayo-port-city