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The withdrawal deals a big blow to the ongoing military operation in central Somalia which has been gaining momentum for the past weeks.
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Hundreds of gun-toting Al-Shabaab fighters moved into Wabho village in the Galgadud region on Sunday after the Somali troops withdrew from the area, officials say.
The residents who spoke to Keydmedia English Service said the allied forces left the key village before militants approached the nearby areas. There was not a single gunshot during the takeover.
The unexpected withdrawal, according to the security experts deals a big blow to the ongoing military operation in central Somalia which has been gaining momentum for the past few weeks.
The Somali military said the insurgents were in full control. and that soldiers had been withdrawn for strategic reasons. It is unclear if the SNA and local militia will launch a counter-attack shortly.
Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda faction in East Africa has lost dozens of villages to the Somali army since September after the government of Somalia unleashed an all-out offensive against the group.
Somali president Hassan Sheikh went to Eritrea last week, to pave the way for the return of 5,000 Somali soldiers trained in the country, whom he wants to join the current war on Al-Shabaab.
Al-Shabaab was driven out of Mogadishu in 2011, but it remains a formidable threat to Somali security, with its fighters frequently carrying out bombings in Mogadishu and military targets.
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