Islamist militant group, Al-Shabab has seized Somalia’s port city, Merca again. The city is the regional state capital of Lower Shabelle.
The African Union deployed troops to the region three and a half years ago, but unfortunately the troops withdrew from the region on Friday 29, January for reasons unknown at the moment. This would prove a bad week for the AU’s reputation as it was earlier reported that it is going to withdraw its troops from fighting against Islāmic militants in Burundi.
The city which is South West and 60 miles from the capital, Mogadishu is the biggest city under Al-Shabab control. The governor explained that there was no forced used on the militant’s part when taking over the city.
“The AU troops pulled out of the town and Al-Shabaab militants entered — and have secured control without fighting,” Ibrahim Adam, governor of the Lower Shabelle region told reporters.
A resident of Merca told the AFP;
“Amisom forces moved out at midday and the local administration and all other Somali security forces left a few minutes later – and then heavily armed Al-Shabab militants entered the town,”
“They have been addressing residents at the district headquarters,” the resident, Ibrahim Mumin said.
Al-Shabab like other Islamic militants seeks to impose its own version of Islamic law in the states it attacks. The war in Somalia started in 2006. Al-Shabab was ousted from Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu in 2011 but still continues to attack the country and neighboring countries. Last month it attacked a Kenyan military base in el-Adde, thereby killing an unnamed number of Kenyan troops.
The capture of the coastal town will prove beneficial to Al-shabab as it would undoubtedly control imports, enhance smuggling and taxation of local commerce.