Somali official: pro-gov't force takes 2nd town

AP News
Posted: Mar 07, 2011 3:01 AM
Somali official: pro-gov't force takes 2nd town

An official says pro-government forces have taken control of a strategic town in western Somalia after Islamist militants abandoned it.

Sheik Mohamed Isaq, a commander of the militiamen allied with Somalia's weak transitional government, said his forces entered Luuq on Monday morning without a gunbattle.

Luuq is 85 kilometers (55 miles) east of Belet Hawo, a town that pro-government militiamen overran on Saturday. It is a gateway to any push to capture other towns in Gedo region and beyond.

Such battleground successes are considered a morale booster for the troops.

The pro-government offensive is part of a move aimed at ending Islamist militants' grip on large swaths of Somalia's southern and central regions.