• RSS Somali VOA

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • Soo Raac

  • Sawiro Xusuus Leh

    More Photos
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 45 other followers

  • your IP adress

    IP address
  • Archives

Somalia’s al Shabaab militia leaving Mogadishu


photo_1311024501563-1-0MOGADISHU (Reuters) – Islamist Militants fighting to topple 

 

 

Somalia’s Western-backed Government were Abandoning

 

 

Their bases in the capital  Mogadishu Saturday, a rebel

 

 

Spokesman and the government said. African peacekeepers and Somali government forces have been steadily wresting control of the rubble-strewn capital from the militants this year. A spokesman for the peacekeeping force, known as AMISOM, told Reuters that the rebels began to pull out of Mogadishu shortly after a string of fierce gunbattles late Friday.


Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, spokesman for the al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab movement, told a local radio station the unprecedented retreat that started late Friday was tactical and that the rebels would hold their positions elsewhere.

"We have abandoned Mogadishu but we remain in other towns," Rage said on the al Shabaab-run Andalus radio station.

Al Shabaab has never previously entirely abandoned Mogadishu during the course of a four-year insurgency that has killed tens of thousands of people.

"We aren’t leaving you, but we have changed our tactics. Every one of you will feel the change in every corner and every street in Mogadishu. We will defend you and continue the fighting," Rage said.

The Horn of Africa country has been without effective central government since the fall of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre 20 years ago.

Government spokesman Abdirahman Omar Osman told Reuters the rebel pullout from Mogadishu was a "golden day" for Somalia.

"For the last (four) years Mogadishu has experienced atrocities at the hands of terrorists. But today they are out," Osman said.

Government forces have begun deploying cautiously into the pockets of the city previously under al Shabaab control, Osman said. He urged Somalis who had fled their homes to return, promising the military would spare no effort in securing the areas.

President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali were expected to hold a news briefing later on Saturday morning.

Witnesses said convoys of al Shabaab technicals — open-top 4x4s mounted with machine guns — headed south from Mogadishu toward the al Shabaab-controlled town of Baidoa, 250 km (150 miles) southwest of the capital.

"I saw 50 armed al Shabaab vehicles heading toward Baidoa shortly after morning prayers," Aweys Sharif told Reuters by telephone from the town of Afgoye, 30 km south of Mogadishu.

(Additional reporting by Abdi Sheikh; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: