The Al-Qaeda-linked, Islamist fighters, Al Shabaab, captured and held Bal’ad administrative district for several hours before leaving it on its own on Monday.
The fighters, reports say, entered the town from three directions and took over the district administrative office, National Intelligence offices, police stations the army barracks without resistance.
They set free all prisoners they found at the police station and NISA offices.
They also set fire on a car belonging to an MP of the Hitrshabelle state administration, another owned by the BAl’ad radio station owner and a third belonging to the district’s internal revenue offices.
Whatever units of the police and the army who were in town at the early hours of the evening when Al Shabaab entered fled to the AMISOM post where they stayed until the fighters left town without a scath
Reports indicate that the operation was based on intelligence reports which told them that there were no Somali troops in town and that the town was skeletally defended although there was a fully manned AMISOM post at the fourth direction of the town that which the fighters avoided.
Al Shabaab left town at around midnight.
Bal’ad is only 30 kilometers north of the Somalia capital, and the seat of the federal government, Mogadishu.