Militant group Al-Shabaab on Saturday retook a town in southern Somalia as joint Somali and African Union forces battled the insurgents in the region, according to local residents.
Residents in Bala’ad town in Middle Shabelle region said the fighters stormed Ged Faqi on the outskirts of Bala’d and overrun the area before hoisting their flags in a police station.
“The militants are patrolling streets in Ged Faqi and there are no security forces. They vacated the area,” a resident told Xinhua. There was no confirmation from the security forces.
Somali and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces early this month launched major operations in Lower and Middle Shabelle regions in what the African Union said will be sustained until the end of the year.
Somali information minister Abdirahman Omar Osman said this week the government will continue the attacks until the country is cleared of extremists.
The recapture of Ged Fagi comes a day after the Somali government said it has captured 19 Al-Shabaab militants in Lower Shabelle region.