By:Wangari Kanyogo/Rose Welimo,KBC - Somali government forces with the support of AMISOM troops have secured the strategic town of Wanla Weyn on the Afgooye to Baidoa corridor in lower Shabelle. Wanla Weyn is 93km from Mogadishu.
A press statement from AMISON said the allied forces had also secured Balli Doogle Airbase, a former air force training base, 11kms from Wanla Weyn.
The securing of this town comes one day after AMISOM troops began their 211 km advance from Afgooye to Baidoa with aim of connecting the two regions. Wanla Weyn town falls at a strategic junction linking the two Shabelle regions to Baidoa and Beletweyne.
This advance is expected to deny fleeing Al Shabaab insurgents from seeking refuge and destabilizing other regions of the country.
AMISOM Force Commander, Lt. Gen Andrew Gutti commended his troops and explained the significance of this move.
"Securing Wanla Wein will allow for free movement of the population who have been restricted until now, unable to go about their daily trade and business due to the restrictions of Al-Shabaab. It will also facilitate the provision of much needed humanitarian assistance to the local population."
Additionally the capture of this town denies Al Shabaab another source of illegal income after a string of defeats and the loss of their major source of revenue in the seaports of Marka, El-maan and Kismayo.
Al Shabaab had stepped up their extortion of illegal taxes from the local populations in the towns they still control.
AMISOM Force Commander Lt]Gen Andrew Gutti said, "This operation demonstrates AMISOM's continuing determination to support the people of Somalia as they embark on a new path of renewal and reconstruction.
AMISOM will continue to bring security to more areas of Somalia so that local people can live their lives and pursue their livelihoods in freedom."
Meanwhile, the Kenya Defense Forces spokesperson Cyrus Oguna has said the capture of Somalia's port city of Kismayu has been a success but there is so much more to be done before the city is habitable again.
The Kenyan contingent of AMISOM and AU peacekeeping forces in the area are now tasked with not only securing strategic locations, but also searching for Improvised Explosive Devices and Unexploded Ordinances that Al Shabaab militants might have left hidden behind.
At the old police station in the town, a group of combat engineers scaled through an abandoned building after receiving reports that it was being used by the Al Shabaab and is suspected to have been booby trapped.
After hours of slowly checking through the buildings dark cells, no explosives were found but a short distance in a compound that used to belong to the UNHRC, some unexploded ordinances were recovered underneath an old car wreck and in the compound that need to be disposed off.
Captain Arthur Ang'iela , AMISOM Combat Engineer said, " It is not an easy task, it requires a lot of concentration and any slight mistake could cost lives."
In recent months Somalia has achieved a number of milestones. It swore in a president and members of the legislative assembly, which officially brought an end the political transitional period.
Just this week it became the newest party to the Ottawa convention that bans the use and stockpiling of land-mines, an issue the country has had to deal with as a result of decades of lawlessness and lack of a functional government since the early 1990's.
Kenyan Defense Forces took control of Kismayu port in Somalia believed to the al-Shabaab stronghold end of September.
The success of the Kenyan forces came after days of operation from land, sea and air, meeting strong resistance from the militia.
Military Spokesman Col Cyrus Oguna said the town was liberated after a fierce battle with the terror militants.
Several Al Shabaab militants were killed in the attack.