African Union and Somali forces captured new territory outside Mogadishu that has long been controlled by militant fighters, officials said Wednesday.
Tanks are tearing through the thorny scrubland to the northwest of Mogadishu, where tens of thousands of internal refugees live in informal camps in an area known as the Afgoye corridor. Troops on Wednesday were about 9 kilometers (6 miles) from Afgoye town following the launch of the operation on Tuesday.
African Union and Somali forces pushed al-Shabab militants out of Mogadishu last August. The forces are now trying to take control of areas outside of Mogadishu.
“Our main effort lies in fighting the terrorism,” Ugandan Brig. Paul Lokeck told reporters visiting the front line. “The enemy has been fleeing toward Merca” he said, referring to a coastal town in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region.