Shabaab, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia, has lost control of another major stronghold as African Union and Somali troops press their offensive against the terror group. Today Shabaab abandoned Afgoye, a city just 20 miles west of Mogadishu that has been used as a base to attack the capital. From Garowe Online:
Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces and African Union’s AMISOM troops entered the town of Afgoye midday Friday and captured the town without any casualties.
According to government sources, Al Shabaab insurgents fled the town the night before after Somali and AMISOM forces captured the town of Elesha Biyaha and were en route to Afgoye.
“Around midday prayers, our forces entered the town of Afgoye which we are in complete control of, after Al Shabaab agents fled the night before,” said Gen. Abdullahi Anood, a TFG General.
According to local sources, Al Shabaab agents fled north to Marko a port city and base for Al Shabaab in southern Somalia.
Shabaab spokesman Sheik Abdiaziz Abu Musab claimed that his forces “tactically withdrew” from Afgoye. From Al Jazeera:
“The mujahedeen fighters tactically withdrew from some positions but that does not represent a defeat,” Musab added. “We have already cut their supply routes and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy.”
Shabaab said the exact same thing when its forces withdrew from Mogadishu late last summer. Shabaab has since resorted to IED and suicide attacks, assassinations, and ambushes in the capital.
Afgoye served as a major meeting place for senior Shabaab leaders. Back in May 2011, the top leadership of Shabaab, including Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansour, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, and American-born Omar Hammami held a daylong meeting to commemorate the death of Osama bin Laden.
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