AU Troops Recover Relief Food Stolen by Al-Shabab

Posted July 13th, 2012 at 7:25 am (UTC-5)
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African Union troops in central Somalia have recovered more than 500 bags of food aid that were stolen by the insurgent group al-Shabab.

The AU says the food, which was meant for drought-stricken Somali families, was instead being used to feed al-Shabab militants at a training camp outside Mogadishu.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) says it captured the area, the village of Lanta-Buro, from al-Shabab this week. AMISOM spokesperson Eloi Yao tells VOA it represents a major setback for the Islamist militant group.

“Some of those places that are strategic to al-Shabab are being captured. And Lanta-Buro is a major achievement because it was serving as a training ground to the enemy…. It's a major blow.”

AMISOM says it also recovered a cache of machine guns and bomb-making equipment during the raid, which left 11 al-Shabab fighters dead and four others captured.

The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab is fighting to overthrow Somalia's transitional government and impose a strict form of Islamic law.

The group once controlled much of Somalia and nearly all of Mogadishu. But it has lost most of its territory during an 19-month offensive involving African Union forces, the Somali government, Ethiopia and Kenya.