Al-Shabab Withdraws from Mogadishu after fighting

undefinedHalkaan ka akhri

MOGADISHUIslamist militants fighting to topple Somalia‘s Western-backed government were abandoning their bases in the capital Mogadishu on Saturday, a rebel spokesman and the government said.

Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, spokesman for the al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab movement, told a local radio station the retreat that started late on 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.

African peacekeepers and Somali government forces have been steadily wresting control of the rubble-strewn capital from the militants this year. Al Shabaab has never previously entirely abandoned Mogadishu during the course of a four-year insurgency that has killed tens of thousands of people.

Government spokesman Abdirahman Omar Osman said the rebel’s withdrawal from the capital was a “golden day” for Somalia.

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

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