BREAKING: Al-Shabaab militants re-take strategic Kudha island, after deadly battle
Mogadishu (Harar24) – Fighters belonging to the Islamist Al-Shabaab movement have taken over the strategic island of Kudha in the Lower Jubba region this morning, after engaging in a heavy battle with forces loyal to the Jubba Interim Administration.
Heavily armed Al-Shabaab fighters commenced their attack on the island from two sides shortly after dawn, which resulted in fierce clashes lasting for about two hours, after which the militants overpowered the stationed Jubba troops present. “We awoke to the raging sound of gunfire, fearing for our lives we remained in our homes. At around 8:00 AM the fire ceased and we found out Al-Shabaab had taken over the place and were hoisting their black flag” a resident told Harar24. ”There were bodies, estimating around thirty, littering the streets. Most of them seemed to be from the Jubba forces” he added.
Kudha island, which lies around 130km south-west of the port town of Kismayo, had been taken over by JIA forces late last month after having been under Al-Shabaab control for seven years.
Al-Shabaab have been losing towns in the past months in the face of an AMISOM offensive, withdrawing most of the times without putting up much resistance, however concerns are high that counter-attacks such as today’s are more likely, especially in areas where Somali troops are left to fend on their own, who are often believed to be vulnerable without the AMISOM backing.