MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - African Union and Somali troops have taken a rebel stronghold north of the Somali capital, another setback for the al-Shabab extremists who once controlled Mogadishu.
Witnesses in Jowhar, 90 kilometers (60 miles) north of Mogadishu, said Sunday that troops encircled the town before engaging in a brief battle with militants. The fighting forced dozens of families to flee. Mahad Ali, a resident, said the rebels left the town around midday Sunday.
An al-Shabab member who uses Twitter confirmed the transfer of power. The posting said Jowhar had been transformed from a "peaceful city" governed by Shariah law into a battle zone.
African Union and Somali troops forced al-Shabab out of the capital Mogadishu in August 2011. The troops have since taken over many more towns, decreasing al-Shabab's area of control.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
She can sing, but can she act? Jewel takes on a famous role.
The Nickelodeon star's antics continue in New York City.
A fallen police officer's daughter gets a swarm of support. (Photos)
Snooki awkwardly meets "Jersey Shore" nemesis Chris Christie.