Ethiopian, Somali troops capture key Somali town

AP News
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Posted: Feb 22, 2012 12:12 PM
Ethiopian, Somali troops capture key Somali town

Residents say Ethiopian troops and Somali soldiers have seized a key town in south central Somalia.

Baidoa resident Isaq Haji says tanks and infantry troops swept into the town on Wednesday after a gunfight. He said al-Shabab fighters retreated into jungle areas outside the town, about 160 miles (256 kilometers) northwest of Mogadishu.

Haji said the fighting had stopped, but gunfire could still be heard.

In a website statement, al-Shabab confirmed the seizure of the town, saying their fighters conducted a tactical retreat. Baidoa is a major base for al-Shabab.

Resident Tifow Abdi says he joined hundreds of others who fled the fighting.

Ethiopian and pro-government troops seized two villages earlier this week in a push aimed at capturing Baidoa.