Somalia’s al Shabaab rebels are advancing for a confrontation with Somali and Kenyan government troops.
The troops began a huge offensive by land and air against the rebels at the weekend.
According to a resident of the al Shabaab controlled city of Kismayu, fighters in armed vehicles are en-route to face troops in the city of Afmadow close to the border with Kenya.
Somalia’s ambassador to Nairobi, Mohammed Ali Nur, expressed his support for the Kenyan offensive. “It is its duty to defend itself and to protect its territory and its people. They are the ones who went there, and there’s nothing wrong with that for them to defend its people and its territory”
The radical Somali group which has links to al-Qaeda announced in mosques a Jihad, or holy war, against Kenyan and Somali troops, and urged residents to defend Kismayu.
The group is also accused of kidnapping two Spanish aid workers with medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres from the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya on Thursday, where almost half a million Somalis have fled seeking assistance.