AU peacekeepers win territory from Somali rebels

May 16, 2011 14:45


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NAIROBI - African Union peacekeepers have seized territory from Somali insurgents in the capital Mogadishu in a new offensive that is slowly closing in on the rebels' main stronghold, a force spokesman said on Monday,

Major Paddy Ankunda said the deployment of up to 3,000 more peacekeepers, which would take the AMISOM force to 12,000 soldiers within the next two months, would help squeeze the rebels out of the heavily populated Bakara market.

"The idea is that when we get new troops, we should be able to expand our fronts and then realize a new effort to push the insurgents out of the ... Bakara market which is their main source of finances," said the Ugandan officer, speaking to reporters from Mogadishu by video link.

Detailing sites now under government control, Ankunda showed the front line shifting to within 200 meters of the southern fringe of Bakara market and within several hundred meters of the market's northern and western boundaries.

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