MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Al-Qaeda-aligned militants have taken back a town in central Somalia following fierce clashes with government troops and local paramilitary forces, hours after it fell on Tuesday.
It came after US-trained Somali special forces and Galmudug regional paramilitary forces, under the cover of US air support, recaptured the town of Ba’adwayn in central Somalia’s Mudug region on Tuesday morning.
Militants withdrew from the town without clashes and US fighter jets could be seen flying low as troops entered the town, residents said.
No air strikes conducted by US war planes in the area have been reported but some of the residents and local officials confirmed that the fighter jets had flown from a warship off the coast of the nearby Hobyo town, which is under the control of pro-government forces.
Fighters of the militant group Al-Shabaab ambushed troops on the outskirts of the town on Tuesday afternoon, triggering heavy gun battle that lasted for hours and eventually led to the withdrawal of allied forces from the town.
Islamist militants reentered the town shortly before sunset after government troops vacated their bases, Mogadishu-based Goobjoog Radio reported on Tuesday night.
The town has changed hands more than five times since January. Following its fall in January, militants began pressing north and attacking other strongholds of pro-government forces, triggering fears by local authorities that large swathes of territory in the south of Mudug region could fall to their hands.
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