By William Tucker
A spokesman for the Kenyan military stated that the navy had struck al-Shabaab positions in the Somali port city of Kismayo yesterday in anticipation of a wider assault. Kenya, along with Eithiopia and the African Union, have been engaged in an offensive against the al-Qaeda affiliated militant group for some time. While the loose coalition has made gains it has been slow going due to weather, drought, and a multitude of other factors. That being said, this strike on Kismayo is certainly noteworthy even if it was limited in scope. The port city of Kismayo is located in southern Somalia in an area still under al-Shabaab control. This is one of the larger ports in Somalia and serves as a conduit for al-Shabaab to receive weapons and cash. Al-Shabaab makes money using the port to facilitate the sale of charcoal, but if they lose this access to the outside world they could find themselves constrained in future operations. As the militaries of several foreign nations continue to move on al-Shabaab the militant group could find itself at a distinct disadvantage.
Note: the attached map was created by a user on Wikipedia and is unsourced, however the representation of area control is in line with open source reporting and serves as an adequate visual aid to the conflict.
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