Al Shabaab fighters retook the strategic port town of Marka in Southern Somalia on Friday hours after the African Union forces and Somali troops pulled out, Horseed Media reports.
Marka,which is some 70KM south of Mogadishu, has been under the control of the AU and Somali troops since 2012 when they drove out of it the militants.
‘’ The government and African Union troops left the town and immediately al-Shabaab fighters took over the control. All their flags are flying all over the town,’’ said one residents, who refused to mention his name due to security reasons.
It is unclear why the government and AMISOM troops withdrew from the strategic port town.
Prior to 2012, the town was under the control of the al-Qaeda-linked extremists since 2008 when it captured it from the Islamic Union Courts fighters.
It served an exit point for international fighters and their families escaping through the Indian Ocean waters as they flee from the ongoing crushing of Al-Shabaab.
The al-Qaeda-linked extremists remain dangerous, unpredictable and bold, known for audacious and chilling attacks. Their fighters routinely target the Somali government in Mogadishu. The group has also sought to terrorize neighboring Kenya.
Somalia has been racked by constant war for more than 20 years – its last functioning national government was toppled in 1991.
Published: February 5, 2016