MOGADISHU(Sh.M.Network)—The African Union Mission in Somalia has called for calm among residents of the southern port city of Kismayo following reports of Al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab terrorists fleeing the town.
“AMISOM is concerned about reports that civilians are being attacked by militants in their homes and being forced to flee the town,” said AMISOM Deputy Force Commander Maj. Gen. Simon Karanja.
“We appeal for all to remain calm. AMISOM’s intent remains to liberate the people of Kismayo to enable them to lead their lives in peace, stability and security,” he added.
Troops from AMISOM’s Kenyan contingent have captured a string of towns on the road from Afmadow to Kismayo, most recently the strategic town of Bibi.
“We urge all the fighters remaining in Kismayo to lay down their arms. Already a number of them have contacted us indicating their wish to cease fighting and we have assured them of their safety if they give themselves up to our forces,” Gen. Karanja said.
Gen. Karanja also appealed to humanitarian agencies to come to the aid of the people fleeing to areas liberated by AMISOM and Somali security forces. “We stand ready to facilitate any efforts to ease the suffering of the population,” he said.