An African Union (AMISOM) soldier from Burundi is seen on patrol in Mogadishu on July 11, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Somalia’s militant group al-Shabab seized a town in the south of the country early on Friday after it was abandoned by the military and African Union-mandated (AMISOM) peacekeepers, residents said.
The town of Leego, which lies about 130 km to the northwest of the capital, Mogadishu, is in Somalia’s lower Shabelle region, where al-Shabab last week killed at least 12 peacekeepers in one of the deadliest attacks on AMISOM.
Farah Ahmed, a resident of Leego, told Reuters AMISOM and Somali military forces had pulled out of the town early on Friday.
“That same minute, al-Shabab entered to control the town... The town is now calm and al-Shabab fighters are in every part of the town.”
It was not immediately clear why the military and AMISOM had withdrawn from Leego.
Al-Shabab is fighting to topple Somalia’s Western-backed central government.
The group was ejected from Mogadishu in 2011 and has since been chased from most of its other strongholds across the country.
But it remains a formidable threat, with its militants frequently carrying out bombings against both civilian and military targets in Mogadishu and other towns in Somalia.

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