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Iran Press TV

Somali, AU forces retake key city from al-Shabab

Iran Press TV

Sat Feb 6, 2016 11:30AM

Somali and African Union (AU) forces have retaken the major Somali port city of Merka a day after the Takfiri al-Shabab militants overran it.

Merka was retaken on Saturday, hours after the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab announced that it had established control on the city.

One day earlier, AU troops had fled the city as the heavily armed militants had swept in.

"The Somali forces and AMISOM peacekeepers secured control of Merka again and now the situation has returned to normal," a Somali military official identified as Abdirisak Mohamed said.

"There was [a] brief exchange of gunfire, but the [Shabab] militants have fled," he said.

The AU troops had held Merka, the state capital of the Lower Shabelle administrative region in southern Somalia, since 2012; and its capture by the armed terrorist group was described as a major setback for the multi-national force in their almost a decade-long battle against al-Shabab.

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