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AU and Somali forces capture Al-Shabab key town

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

March 2, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) – The Somali government and African Union peacekeeping forces (AMISOM) on Friday launched an attack against al-Shabaab insurgents, capturing Maslah, a town just 5km from Mogadshu.

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Al-Shabab, Mogadishu, Somalia (Getty)

The military operation is the latest in the ongoing battle to flush out al-Shabaab from its strong holds. Al-Shabaab is under fire from three fronts as Ethiopian forces in the west and Kenyan forces far in south are also attacking it. Experts say the group is recently weakened and is failing to confront the attacks.

Maslah is believed to be the remaining key strategic pocket for the al-Qaeda-linked group.

The group had been controlling nearly all of the capital and most of southern and central Somalia.

In a statement AMISOM said it will "extend the city’s defences and deny the al-Qaeda backed terrorists important ground from which they have been targeting the city’s population”.

Since Ethiopian forces re-entered Somalia in December and launch attacks alongside Somali forces, they have taken strategic towns of Beledweyne and Baidoa. Kenyan troops have also seized al-Shabab positions in the south.

In the past, al-Shabab fighters were believed to have informal links with al-Qaeda. In February al-Shabab announced their union officially.

Somalia has had no effective government since 1991 and the larger parts of the country were in the hands of Al-Shabab rebels and other armed groups.

(ST)

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  • 5 March 2012 03:18, by Madingbaar

    This is a joke right? How comes that the rebels stronghold is just 5KM away from the state Capital? This would be like SPLA in Omdurman. You see, this is why I don’t understand Somali civil war.

    repondre message

    • 5 March 2012 06:16, by Joseph Canada

      Am telling you man. every somali is alshabaab. They are government soldiers this week then next week they are Al shabaab, the third week they sell Mira and spend the time in Camps or Pirating. They work 24/7 surviving. All the Mohameds,the Sallahs and the Abdis are the same. Alshabaab. And the Funny part, they don’t read and write!! They just do! what they are told.

      repondre message

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