Somalia’s government-led forces have recaptured another al Shabab stronghold town in Galmudug state in less than 24 hours, according to the country’s defence minister on Tuesday.
The joint forces took El-Dhere town in central Somalia’s Galgadud region, which has been in the hands of the group for more than a decade, defence Minister Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur said in a broadcast on state-owned television.
El-Dheer, a historical town bordering Harardheere in the Mudug region, is also close to the Elbur district.
Somali government forces, acting jointly with militias and regional forces from Galmudug and forces from the neighbouring region of Puntland, captured Harardheere, an al Shabaab stronghold on the Indian Ocean coast on Monday.
The group had held the Harardheere town for 15 years.
The al-Qaeda-affiliated armed militant group al-Shabab withdrew its militants from Harardhere and El-Dheer in the last 24 hours after government-led forces put pressure on the group in the two major towns in the Galmudug region.
Harardhere was a major base for pirates hijacking merchant ships until 2011. It was later taken over by al Shabaab, which first rose up against the government in 2007 before pledging its allegiance to al Qaeda.
Since launching a major offensive last August, the government and allied clan militias have forced the militants from swathes of territory in central Somalia.