Somali troops retake southern areas from Al-Shabaab militants

Mogadishu: The Somali National Army on Monday retook key locations, about 25 km south of the southern town of Baidoa, from Islamist group Al-Shabaab, a police commander has said. "The troops, alongside South West State forces, took control of the areas, including Dhuboy, Malable and Gaalweel, without any resistance from Al-Shabaab militants," Xinhua quoted police commander for South West State, Colonel Mohamed Sheikh Isak, as saying. "Al-Shabaab militants withdrew from those areas when they learned that our forces are advancing towards them," Isak added. He said local residents welcomed the liberation of the locations once controlled by Al-Shabaab. The Somali army has been battling Al-Shabaab militants for years, driving them to rural areas in southern Somalia, but the group still stages periodic attacks in the country.