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Somali And African Union Troops Reclaim Barawe From Al-Shabaab

Somali And African Union Troops Reclaim Barawe From Al-Shabaab

African Union and Somali troops have retaken Barawe, on the southern Somali coast, after an offensive against Al Qaeda-linked extremist group Al Shabaab.

About 1 000 AU and Somali troops took part in the joint offensive.

"The army is in full control" of the port of Barawe, 200 kilometres (120 miles) southwest of Mogadishu, the Somali military official Abdi Mire said.

"The situation is calm, the militiamen had fled before the forces reached the town," said the provincial governor Abdukadir Mohamed Nur.

Some members of the militant group fled the port town on the southern coast of Somalia without resistance, while others were arrested.

Barawe had been under al Shabaab’s control since 2006. During this period, it banned modern customs and strictly enforced Islamic shariah law. Townspeople suffered amputations, were flogged or were executed for petty crime such as theft.

The African Union and the Somali military launched a joint offensive in March to drive the al Qaeda-linked Islamists out of towns and areas they control, and stepped up their campaign in August after a surge in gun and bomb attacks in Mogadishu.

Image: Al Jazeera.