Al-Shabaab Takes New Villages, Encroaches on Key Somalia Towns


MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Islamist militants have retaken a strategic area in central Somalia, days after carrying out an attack that left more than 30 dead in a nearby town.

The development came after Al-Qaeda-aligned fighters killed more than 30 people in the town of Wisil in Galmudug state in one of a series of attacks it launched over the past weeks.

Troops loyal to the regional administration withdrew from the village of Afcagaag, some 16km from the town of Guriel on Friday after receiving information that militants had been advancing.

Last week, fighters of the militant group Al-Shabaab captured the village of Dabarre, about 30km from the town and continue to advance further into areas under control of the federal government troops and regional paramilitary forces.

Local authorities announced a sweeping operation aimed at cleansing the region of militants but efforts to stop militants from gaining new ground had earlier failed to make a dent.

The fall of the key village could enable militants launch attacks on the town of Guriel, more than a decade after they had been driven away by allied Ethiopian troops, Sufi militias and local paramilitary forces.

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