According to my sources in Mogadishu, AMISOM has been able to break through the Shabab lines and successfully buried the trenches blocking the road to the Defence Ministry. This has enabled them to ferry in more troops and Tanks into the Defence Ministry, effectively taking control of the strategic position. Shabab sources claim that they have destroyed AMISOM APCs that were entering the Defence Ministry, but this is hard to verify and may or may not be true.
The Shabab I have spoken with say that they are on either side of the road that goes from Jalle Siyad Military Academy, but appear to be on the Eastern side of the Road and behind the Defence Ministry to its Northeast .
This new development means that AMISOM can now bombard even further into the Shabab areas in Dayniile and Gubta with Mortars that mostly never reached them. Those areas could only be hit by Katyusha rockets and heavy 120mm Mortars.
Perhaps the most important result of this development may be the cutting of Mogadishu into two parts for good. Before this battle, there was only one Road linking TFG-controlled areas and Shabab areas: Industrial Road. It seems now that the Industrial Road is going to become a permanent battlefield. Shabab will continue to attack head-on until they force AMISOM and its junior partner, the TFG, to pull back. On the other hand, AMISOM has thousands of troops packed into the small area that the government controls. This is their chance to spread themselves, and will not let go easily. They have the resources and manpower to do this. And do it they must to prove their worth.
There will be more offensives by both sides in the coming weeks. Shabab will be trying to dislodge AMISOM from the Defence Ministry, and AMISOM will be trying to consolidate their gains by trying to launch diversion offensives in other areas of the front lines. If AMISOM manages to stay in the Defence Ministry for a month, they shall stay there until they decide to leave whenever that may be.
And they can never leave if there is no political solution. It isn’t easy to withdraw 12,000 troops by air and sea when you are under fire. Needless to say, they can not stay indefinitely. Sooner or later, someone up there has got to realise that this cycle can not be sustained forever. Until then, the few people still staying in Mogadishu will continue to live in terror.
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