MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A Somali military official says African Union and Somali troops have seized one of the last major towns held by the al-Shabab Islamic extremist rebels in southwestern Somalia.
Maj. Abdullahi Mohamed said Wednesday the militants withdrew from the town as troops moved into Bardhere, an agricultural center.
Bardhere residents reported seeing soldiers after the militants' withdrawal. Some of the residents fled the town in the past few days in anticipation of fighting.
African Union troops, made up of forces from Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Burundi and Djibouti, are backing Somalia's government against al-Shabab, which is allied to al-Qaida. The coalition forces have managed to push al-Shabab out of most of their strongholds in Somalia. But the militants remain a deadly force attacking government and civilian targets.