Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militants have abandoned a key port town in Southern Somalia, their last major stronghold in the country, Reports say.
Barawe, which lies some 180 kilometres (110 miles) south of the capital Mogadishu, has been a vital lifeline for the insurgents since losing the control of Mogadishu in 2011 and Kismayo in 2012.
Local sources said that the militants left the town for unidentified destination on Friday along with their weapons.
‘’ The town is not under anyone’s control now,’’ said a local resident who refused to be named for security reason.
The pull out of the militants comes as African Union peacekeepers and Somali government forces marched towards the town in the past few days.
It has been a town that they have used to prepare attacks carried on Mogadishu.
Al-Shabaab officials have not yet commented about their withdrawal from the coastal town.
Ever since losing key towns in Southern and Central Somalia, the group has staged guerrilla attacks and suicide missions in the capital, Mogadishu killing civilians and government officials.