Al-Shabaab loses another town to Somali forces
TORATOROW, Somalia — Al-Qaeda-linked militant group Al-Shabab militants have pulled out of a key town as Somali government forces moved in the area on Monday, journalist reports.
AU peacekeepers and US-trained DANAB forces recaptured the southern town of Toratorow from the extremists, bringing them a step closer to the full liberation of the entire Lower Shabelle region.
As the militants withdrew, the allied troops secured the control of the key bastion, marking a significant gain for Somali armed forces as they try to take over security responsibility from the AU troops in 2021.
The seizure of Toratorow was part of an offensive launched last year by the combined forces to drive the rebels out of towns which they continued to hold since losing control of the capital Mogadishu in 2011.
Lower Shabelle Governor Ibrahim Aden Najah told journalis that government forces have successfully captured the town without encountering resistance from Al-Shabab fighters.
”Our Somali National Army backed by AMISOM liberated Toratorow from Al-Shabab without a battle. We will continue these military operations until they are checked out from all Somalia,” he added.
The area has changed hands between the Somali army and Al-Shabab several times in the past.
The withdrawal comes just weeks after Al-Shabab carried out deadly car bombings in Mogadishu, killing dozens of Somalis and two Turkish nationals who were working on a Qatar-funded road project.
In the past years, Somali forces have been leaving military bases in southern Somali regions, attributing the reason for not receiving pay or rations that gave Al-Shabab a chance to make a comeback and gain territory.
Al-Shabab, the Al-Qaeda ally in East Africa continues to occupy large parts of southern and central Somalia, despite an intensification of US airstrikes targeting leaders of the group and ISIS-linked faction.