Al-Shabab militants capture 3 Somali towns: Officials

Al- Shabab militants in an undisclosed location in Somalia (file photo)

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Al-Shabab militants have overrun three Somali towns recently abandoned by the soldiers of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), officials say.

“Mubarak, Tortorow and Awdheegle have fallen into the hands of al-Shabab within the past 24 hours,” Awdheegle mayor, Mohamed Aweys Abokar, said on Thursday.

He added that hundreds of people, mostly civilians, fled the three towns for fear of their lives.

Officials said the AMISOM troops had started leaving the towns on Wednesday and withdrew completely on Thursday following intense clashes with al-Shabab militants.

Al-Shabab militants have been fighting to overthrow Somalia’s government since 2006.

The militants have been pushed out of the capital, Mogadishu, and other major cities by government and the AMISOM troops.

The African Union mission to Somalia is largely made up of troops from Uganda, Ethiopia, Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya and Sierra Leone.

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