African Union and Somalia government troops have abandoned key towns in Southern Somalia where al-Shabaab militants’ presence has been rising, Horseed Media reports.According to local residents, the troops withdrew from the towns of Awdheegle and Qoryoley of the Lower Shabelle region on Wednesday night. The army commanders were not available to comment on issues that led to their withdrawal.’
But local sources confirmed to Horseed Media that al-Shabaab militants have surrounded areas close to the towns and planning to launch attacks to the troops’ bases.
The withdrawal of these forces comes less than a week after al-Shabaab militants killed more than 50 African Union forces in a deadly battle in Leego district of Lower Shabelle.
Though al-Shabaab was pushed out of key towns in South and Central Somalia, the group has been able to hit high-profile targets in Mogadishu’s heavily fortified areas, including the national courts, the UN compound, the Turkish embassy, and popular gathering places.
The al-Qaeda-linked extremists remain dangerous, unpredictable and bold, known for audacious and chilling attacks. Their fighters routinely target the Somali government in Mogadishu. The group has also sought to terrorize neighboring Kenya.
Somalia has been racked by constant war for more than 20 years – its last functioning national government was toppled in 1991.
Source: Horseed Media