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Troops delay entering Kismayu over fear that rebels set trap


African Union and Somali government troops are in no rush to move deeper into Kismayu, the southern stronghold abandoned by Islamist militants, a military spokesman said yesterday, as anxiety over revenge attacks gripped many in the port city.

Al-Shabaab rebels fled Kismayu on Friday after a surprise assault by sea, air and ground forces, but Kenyan soldiers fighting under the banner of an AU peacekeeping mission have been cautious about pouring into the port city from its outskirts. Mohamed Farah, a spokesman for Somali government forces, said: "We anticipate landmines have been planted in Kismayu."

Al-Shabaab, which counts foreign al-Qa'ida-trained fighters among its ranks, has said that, although it had retreated from Somalia's second-biggest city, its fighters were poised to engage the allied troops once they entered the city centre.