Insurgents seize southern Somali town

August 8th, 2008 - 4:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Mogadishu (Somalia), Aug 8 (Xinhua) Fighters of the Somali insurgent group Islamist Al-shabaab Friday took over Hudur, the provincial capital of the southern province of Bakool, without fighting, residents said. The local administration and their security forces withdrew from the town hours before the fighters entered, residents said.

“There was no fighting in the town when the rebels came in because all the government forces and the mayor left,” Mohamed Yare, a local resident told Xinhua by phone from Hudur, 180 km north of Baidoa town, the seat of the transitional Somali parliament.

The fighters have reportedly taken positions in the main government buildings including the police station and the offices of the local administration officials who are now in Baidoa, the provincial capital of Bay region 250 km southwest of Mogadishu.

Somali transitional government officials were not immediately available for comment on the capture of Hudur and calls to the mobile phones of local administration officials went unanswered.

Hudur, a strategic town close to Baidoa, has been seized by insurgent fighters a number of times before and always the insurgents have withdrawn or were forced out by a joint Ethiopian and Somali government forces.

Insurgents usually take over villages and towns in the provinces but withdraw shortly afterwards after seizing weapons and military vehicles from government troops and Ethiopian forces.

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