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Al-Shabab Lost Strategic Frontlines Pulling Out OF Mogadishu

Hiiraan Online
Saturday, August 06, 2011

Somalia’s Islamist opposition fighters Al-Shabaab on Friday night withdrew its militants from the restive capital Mogadishu following intense artillery shelling from forces of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG) backed by the African Union peace keeping mission to Somalia (AMISOM)

Al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage told Radio Andulus “the voice of the islamists” that their militants are out of Mogadishu as part of their own military strategy.

"The reason why we moved our forces out is to change our military and battle tactics. We have also moved out in a bid to safe the lives of troubled residents” Rage told Radio Andulus

“But in the next few hours we will conduct a wave of military battles to wipe out AMISOM and TFG forces”

The Group spokesman confirmed that AMISOM have used intense tactics and one of their heaviest military powers ever, consequently forcing the pull-out of the ranks and files of the self-proclaimed Mujahideen.

As of Saturday morning TFG forces backed by AMISOM directly controlled the strategic Bakara Market in the heart of the war-ravaged capital, and also major avenues including Sodonka, Warshadaha among others.TFG forces were also seen patrolling Mogadishu’s main football stadium formerly a stomping ground for Al-Shabab militants.

Sources told Hiiraan Online (HOL) that government forces are pursuing Islamist fighters who were heading to other parts of Southern Somalia. Our reliable sources added that the militants were heading towards the two regions of Shabelle where the group consolidates its power firmly.

Al-shabab have been controlling large parts of South-central Somalia for the last two years including Mogadishu which is the provincial headquarters of Somalia’s’ Banadir region.

The group has over the past few weeks lost their strategic frontlines following an onslaught of military activities where both the TFG and AMISOM have tested the tenacity of the Islamist opposition who have vowed to conduct a wave of attacks during the holy month of Ramadan.

Mogadishu’s residents were seen thronging out of their homes stunned by the sudden ouster of Alshabab from its frontlines. In the villages of Suuqaholaha in the district of Huriwaa hundreds of residents came out but they were yet to celebrate the change of power fearing any reprisal from Al-shabab fighters.

Somali reporting by Mohamed Haji in Mogadishu, translation and editing by Abdullahi Jamaa in Mombasa.