MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Al-Qaeda-aligned militant group Al-Shabaab has taken a strategic town in south Somalia on Monday after African Union troops withdrew due to unspecified circumstances.
Heavily armed militants entered the town from multiple directions, shortly after Ugandan peacekeepers left their bases, a resident said.
Ugandan troops have been making preparations for the pullout over the past days and began leaving the smal town shortly before dawn on Monday, he told Somaliguaridan.
The Somali Islamist group Al-Shabaab said its forces had captured the town of Marin Gubay, about 40km away from the town of Barawe, claiming that frequent attacks by its fighters had forced the peacekeepers to leave.
African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia has not yet commented on the move, which comes as the Horn of Africa nation heads to the polls.
It is not the first time militants retake bases emptied by the African Union forces mandated to drive the Al-Qaeda-affiliate from the conflict-torn nation. Al-Shabaab has recently captured positions near the town of Qoryoley and other areas in the Lower and Middle Shabelle regions where AMISOM troops left due to unspecified circumstances.
Marin Gubay links Barawe and Bula Marer towns and it is believed that the African Union base there was crucial for efforts to curb growing attacks by the militants on military convoys carrying supplies for the peacekeeping forces in both towns and other major cities in the region.
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