Somali Islamists retake key town

2013-03-17 16:29
Kismayo Somalia (File)

Kismayo Somalia (File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Mogadishu - Somalia's Islamist fighters retook the key southern town of Hudur on Sunday, residents said, in the first territorial fight-back by the al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab for several months.

Heavily armed Shabaab fighters swept into the regional capital of the Bakool region early on Sunday, taking the town peacefully just hours after Ethiopian troops who had held it since late 2011 left, said resident Hussein Madker.

"Hudur is now under the control of the Shabaab fighters again after the Ethiopian soldiers moved out late last night," Madker said.

The Ethiopian troops left the town late on Saturday with their heavy weaponry, alongside allied Somali forces and residents who feared what would happen after their pull out.

The recapture of Hudur marks a sharp turnaround for the Shabaab, who have lost a a string of towns in recent months to the 17 000-strong African Union force, which fights alongside Somali government forces.

However, it was not immediately clear whether Ethiopian forces had pulled out due to pressure by the Shabaab, and for how long the Islamists intended to hold the town.

"The Somali government troops also went along with the Ethiopian soldiers, as well as some civilians who feared for their lives", said resident Hudow Mohamed.

Shabaab potent

Hudur lies some 180km west of the Ethiopia's main base in Somalia, the city of Baidoa.

Ethiopian troops crossed the border into southwestern Somalia in late 2011 to attack Shabaab bases, shortly after Kenyan troops invaded Somalia from the far south.

While Kenyan troops have since joined the AU force, Ethiopian troops have remained separate.

Somali military commanders in Baidoa confirmed the Shabaab had taken Hudur but would not give further details.

Despite recent losses the Shabaab remain a potent threat, still controlling rural areas as well as carrying out guerrilla attacks in areas apparently under government control.

Some, retreating ahead of AU-led assaults, have relocated to the northern Golis mountains in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  al-qaeda  |  somalia  |  ethiopia  |  east africa publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

LIVE: Canada v Romania
Heyneke: Still some loose ends
LIVE: Fiji v Uruguay
Does De Kock's fate await Paige?
Traffic Alerts

Are you burning the candle at both ends? Listen to your body and your emotional reactions. Know when to slow down or stop. It is more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.