Saturday, August 6, 2011

Somalia's al-Shabab rebels leave Mogadishu - 6th Aug 2011

Reader Contribution;

Somalia's al-Shabab Islamist rebels have pulled out of all positions in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, government and rebel spokesmen say.

President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed declared the rebels defeated after they left overnight on trucks.

However, al-Shabab described the move as a "change of military tactics".

The conflict has hampered aid efforts in the famine-hit country, with the militia barring some aid agencies from central and southern areas it controls.

African Union peacekeepers and government forces have for months been contained to small areas of the capital. Recently they have been battling the rebels in a bid to secure delivery routes for emergency supplies of food, water and medication.

The pull-out followed reports of gun battles in the capital on Friday night.

Sheikh Ahmed told a press conference: "The Somali government welcomes the success attained by the Somali government forces backed by AMISOM (peacekeepers) who defeated the enemy of al Shabab."

However, a spokesman for the al-Qaeda-linked rebels, Ali Mohamed Rage, told a local radio station there would be no withdrawal from other regions of southern Somalia.

"The retreat by our forces is only aiming to counter-attack the enemy. People will hear happy news in the coming hours," he said.

"We shall fight the enemy wherever they are." Read More