Al-Shabaab fighters flee as Somali, Ethiopian forces capture Baidoa

February 22, 2012

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Somali and Ethiopian forces captured the strategic Somali city of Baidoa from al-Qaeda allied al-Shabaab militants Wednesday (February 22nd), a Somali army commander said.

"We have taken control of Baidoa without a single shot, it is a great day for the people who are now welcoming us warmly," said Muhidin Ali, a Somali government military commander in Baidoa.

Al-Shabaab fighters reportedly started to flee positions in and around the city on Tuesday.

Witnesses in Berdale, 50 kilometres west of Baidoa, told AFP that al-Shabaab withdrew late Tuesday. Mohamed Ibrahim Habsade, a Somali commander with the advancing troops, confirmed the reports. "Our forces, and the Ethiopian soldiers assisting them, took control of Berdale," he said.

"The violent extremists did not fight but just ran away, and we will keep chasing them to eliminate their existence," he said.

Witnesses in Baidoa said people were fleeing the city towards the al-Shabaab-held Afgoye corridor, close to the government-held Mogadishu.

"Many people, most of them al-Shabaab families and supporters, are fleeing Baidoa this morning, they are heading towards the Afgoye corridor," Hussein Ali, a resident, told AFP.

Security forces "will not spare a single area under the rule of the terrorists; we will remove them from each and every village and town they control," Habsade said.

Losing Baidoa, 250 kilometres northeast of Mogadishu, is a major blow for al-Shabaab, which has struggled since losing control of financial hubs in the capital. According to AFP, the militant group now largely relies on funding from the charcoal trade and the southern port of Kismayo, which is under pressure from Kenyan forces who entered Somalia in October.

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Reader's Comments

  • Mark samweli mboya tanzania
    November 6, 2012 @ 10:15:37AM

    My view is that Somalis you should stop the war because you are destroying the economy of Somalia and Somali citizens using bullets that have no benefit or progress. Build the economy of Somalia

  • kibet japhet
    April 24, 2012 @ 05:15:22AM

    informal groups claiming legitimacy without seeking approval of the electorate is not acceptable anywhere in the world, its existence is as temporary as sand in a down hill running stream the likes of al shabaab among others not necessarily in Muslim communities but also in christian communities.Their life span soon to exist in tales only(saluting African nations in effort to save Somalia as a nation with dignity)

  • خالد
    February 23, 2012 @ 10:18:23AM

    I have some advice for our people in Somalia. The terrorist movements, irrespective of their names, aim at killing and displacing the people. All people must be up to the responsibility, and they should never neglect any place for them to tamper with the security of the state.

  • Yusuf Osman Guray
    February 23, 2012 @ 01:12:46AM

    Great day for all Somali's, we welcome a peaceful handover from Al-Qaida link militants in all areas they control. I remind once again to the TFG, Kenya Troops, Ethiopia Troops the struggle against Terrorism is not yet over, please per sue and eliminate where ever they are hiding.

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