AU forces seize more Al-Shabaab territory By ABDULKADIR KHALIF in Mogadishu | Thursday, February 14  2013 at  19:48

Puntland

Peacekeepers serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) have seized new positions from Al-Shabaab, the radical Islamist group in Somalia.

The allied forces moved to Awdegle and Janale settlements, according to General Abdullahi Osman Agey, the Commander of 2nd Brigade of the Somali National Army.

“We advanced and captured important territory in Lower Shabelle and our forces together with Amisom troops got hold of Janale and Awdhegle towns,” said Gen Agey.

Last year, Amisom troops spearheaded a campaign to seize major towns south of Mogadishu, including Afgoye, Wanlaweyn and Marka, the capital of Lower Shabelle region, 110km south of the capital. The allied forces had also captured from the fanatical militants Jowhar town, the capital of Middle Shabelle region, 90km north of Mogadishu.

Tension is mounting in Qoryoley town, about 200km south of Mogadishu, as Amisom and the Somali forces appear ready to advance.

Residents contacted by the Africa Review over the phone in the largely agricultural district of Qoryoley indicated that the majority of the Al-Shabaab loyalists abandoned their positions while the remaining ones were building trenches in preparation for defence.

“There is high tension as news of advancing pro-government forces mount,” a resident who preferred anonymity for security reasons, said.

Army officers project that the next move will be to seize Bulomarer where in January French troops carried out an operation to free a hostage hitherto held by Al-Shabaab, which ended unsuccessfully.