Somali government forces are advancing on Kismayo, the key stronghold of Islamist group al-Shabab, as thousands of residents flee an expected assault.
A Somali government army general told the BBC that his forces were intending to take the port, but did not say when.
The United Nations refugee agency has reported a sudden spike in the number of civilians fleeing Kismayo from a few dozen to more than 1,000 a day.
Those who can afford it are hiring buses and trucks to leave the city.
Kismayo is the militants' main base in its fight against the Somali government whose troops have been slowly converging on the town with African Union (AU) soldiers - de-mining the road along the way.
The UN says residents there fear some sort of military activity in or around the port.
Locals told the BBC Somali Service that hundreds of militants have also been leaving Kismayo in armed pick-up trucks,
In: World News, Regional News, Politics, Other Middle East
Tags: somalia, kismayo, african, union, kenya, uganda, al-shabab, islamist, united, nations, attack
Location: Somalia (load item map)
Views: 1471 | Comments: 7 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
|Liveleak on Facebook|