Kenyan troops move closer to militants' base

Kenyan and Somali government troops edged closer yesterday to a town in southern Somalia where Islamist militants linked to al-Qa'ida have grouped, hoping to strike a quick blow against them.

The al-Shabaab rebels, who are blamed by Nairobi for several kidnappings of foreigners on Kenyan soil, pose a significant security threat in the Horn of Africa region. Kenya launched an air-and-ground offensive against them a week ago.

The Somali rebels have reinforced their defences in the town of Afmadow, a strategic transit point for goods trafficked illegally through the rebel-controlled Kismayu port, al Shabaab's nerve centre for operations. Reuters