Kenyan soldiers, as part of African Union forces in Somalia, captured the key al-Shabaab-controlled town of Afmadow on Wednesday, according to a Kenyan Defence Force spokesman.
“We now control Afmadow with our troops,” Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir told CNN.
The operation started early Wednesday, he said, with KDF forces capturing the town of Hayo. Six al-Shabaab militants were killed in that operation.
“(The troops) then moved straight onto Afmadow,” said Chirchir.
Military analysts believe that Afmadow is a key step in Kenya’s campaign against al-Shabaab, the Islamic militant group they have been fighting since they entered Somalia in October of last year. The town would serve as a staging point for any move on Kismayo, al-Shabaab’s stronghold in southern Somalia.
“Afmadow is an important administrative town that was supplying al-Shabaab fighters with money. It was their nerve center,” said Chirchir. “After the fall of Afmadow there is only Kismayo.”