MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) --
Somali militants on Monday recaptured Elbur town in
central Somalia after Somali government and the African Union
peacekeeping (AMISOM) forces pulled out.
Elbur District Commissioner Nur Hassan Gutale told reporters that
the joint forces withdrew from the town on Monday morning, allowing
the heavily armed Al-Shabaab fighters to return.
“Ethiopian troops under AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA)
withdrew from their bases in Elbur town, a strategic town in
Galgudud region this morning, the withdrawal was made by AMISOM
first, and then government forces as they could not stay there alone
because they were not prepared,” Gutale said.
He accused AMISOM troops of not informing them of the unexpected
pullout from the town which allowed the insurgents to enter without
any resistance. The reason for the troops’ withdrawal from the town
was not clear.
“They did not inform us that they are leaving and this is a sudden
decision. Al-Shabaab militants recaptured the town and our forces
are in an area west of the town,” the government official said.
Gutale added that Galmudug State Administration will take action
against the militants in the coming week. “The enemy group (Al-Shabaab)
will target civilians, therefore, we are working to flush them out
of the town and liberate the town,” he added.
Local residents said the militants who have waged near-daily attacks
against government and AU bases in Somalia hoisted their black
banner on the top buildings to alert the locals about their return
to the town.
The residents said the allied forces backed by tanks and armored
vehicles were seen heading to Dhusamareb, the regional capital of
The allied forces have been in Elbur town since 2014 after several
residents had fled the town due to fear inflicted by the insurgents.