Somali troops withdraws from Moqokori in central Somalia. AMISOM and Somali National Army officials in Hiiraan region were not immediately available for comment.
(Radio Kulmiye) — Somali troops fighting militant Islamist group al-Shabab have withdrawn from a key military base in central Somalia’s Hiraan region, a day after the troops took the area from al-shabaab without clashes residents say Wednesday, KNN reports.
As Somali troops moved out Moqokri district, Al-Shabaab moved in the district, residents said.
Al-Shabaab fighters have taken control of Moqokori following the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops in October.
The troop withdrawal comes at a vulnerable time, as the government is organizing elections throughout.
The withdrawal also revived the nagging question of when the Somali government will build an army capable of protecting civilians.
MOQOKORI, Somalia (Garowe online) – Al Shabaab militants retook control of a key town in central Somalia hours after it was abandoned by Somali soldiers and allied forces serving with African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Garowe Online reports.
Residents in Moqokori said that allied forces that spent a night inside the town moved out of it, allowing the Al Qaida-affiliated Al Shabaab fighters to enter without encountering resistance.
The reason for the troops’ withdrawal from Moqokori town was not clear. AMISOM and Somali National Army officials in Hiiraan region were not immediately available for comment.
“Truck ferrying Al Shabaab fighters entered the town without a battle, whereas Somali and Ethiopian troops withdrew to the outskirts of Moqokori,” said a resident who spoke to GO over the phone on a condition of anonymity.
AMISOM forces along with Somali troops were seen on Wednesday morning evacuating their bases in Moqokori and heading towards Mahas district in Hiiraan region.
Al Shabaab has in the past staged multiple attacks against AMISOM bases, as part of its guerrilla warfare strategy to drive out foreign troops and topple Somalia’s Western-backed government in the capital Mogadishu.