AU, Somali troops capture Islamist stronghold
Nairobi: African Union troops and Somali forces seized the formerly Islamist-held town of Jowhar on Sunday, wresting control of one of the largest remaining towns held by the Al Qaida linked Al Shabab, officials said.
“We took control this morning and are now establishing security in Jowhar,” Colonel Ali Houmed, a spokesman for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), told AFP.
“AMISOM troops alongside Somali National Forces entered the town, there was little fighting as the Al Shabab largely fled ahead of us.”
The loss of Jowhar is a significant blow to the Al Shabab, who have lost a string of towns in recent months to the 17,000-strong AMISOM force, as well as to Ethiopian troops who invaded Somalia last year from the west.