Somalia's Al Shabaab seizes town near capital after army pull out
MOGADISHU, Somalia – The Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab militants took over a strategic town close to the capital Mogadishu on Tuesday after government troops withdrew from the area, Garowe Online reports.
Heavily armed fighters had taken over the control of El-Gelow village located in the Middle Shabelle region early in the morning without facing resistance from the Somali national army [SNA], according to the locals.
The village which lies about 30 Kilometers from the Somali capital, Mogadishu is important for the movement of people, goods and services in the volatile region.
“We captured El-Gelow town this morning without any resistance. The Government soldiers left when we advanced towards the town,” said Abdiaziz Abu Musab, Al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman.
The spokesman, speaking to Radio Andalus, Al-Shabaab's official mouthpiece said they have targeted the retreating government forces with a remote-controlled landmine blast at Gololeey area.
The latest capture of the village adds to a dozen other villages the militant group has wrested control following the withdrawal of Somali and AMISOM forces.
Since last year, senior HirShabelle state officials, including regional lawmakers were killed in Al-Shabaab ambush attacks in the main road linking Jowhar to Bal’ad town, making the land transport more difficult.
Despite losing ground, the militant group continues to wage persistent deadly attacks on military bases in Lower and Middle Shabelle regions, trying to foil joint operations by Somali, AU and US forces against its strongholds.