On January 6, Government of Kenya (GoK) military aerial bombardments in Garbahare town, Gedo Region, resulted in at least 60 deaths and more than 50 injuries, according to unconfirmed international media reports. In addition, Kenyan forces conducted aerial bombardments in Jilib town—an al-Shabaab stronghold near the strategic port city of Kismayo—on January 15, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). As of January 6, international media reported a significant increase in the number of al-Shabaab-controlled villages captured by GoK, Government of Ethiopia (GoE), and Somalia Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces following the end of the October-to-December deyr rainy season and associated flooding in many areas of Somalia.
As of January 18, the Food Assistance Cluster (FAC)—the coordinating body for food-related assistance in Somalia—reported that cluster members had provided emergency food assistance to more than 278,000 individuals in January. FAC partners plan to scale up interventions in some areas of southern Somalia where al-Shabaab militants have recently departed, including Badhabdhe and Afmadow districts in Lower Juba Region, as well as Hodan,
Wardigley, Yaqshid, and Heliwa districts in Banadir Region, when the security situation stabilizes, the U.N. reports.
The African Union (A.U.) announced plans on January 5 to augment the authorized strength of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) from 12,000 to 17,700 peacekeeping troops, primarily using troops provided by the GoK and the Government of Djibouti. The U.N. Security Council must approve the troop increase for AMISOM, currently comprising 10,000 troops primarily from Burundi, Djibouti, and Uganda. In early January, the A.U. Peace and Security Council renewed AMISOM’s mandate until January 2013.