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Al-Shabaab commanders have decided to withdraw their foreign militants from the frontlines in Mogadishu city as they send other fighters to reinforce their troops in Bakara Market.
More than 15 vehicles carrying foreign fighters reportedly from Abdul-Aziz district in north-Mogadishu were on Monday seen moving out of Mogadishu towards Afgooye district, in the Lower Shabelle region.
Salat Maalin Noor, a local resident of Abdul-aziz district told Somalia Report that all the vehicles that ferried the foreign militants had insurgents of African origin except for one truck that carried fighters of Arab origin.
“I think those ones were either the fighters from Yemen or Pakistan. Usually they are the ones who we see occasionally been transported from al-Shabaab's main bases in Daynile and Afgoye to the frontlines in the city," Maalin Nur said.
In an attempt to confirm the withdraw, Somalia Report contacted residents and other available sources to find out if there were signs of more al-Shabaab insurgents vacating the city as a whole.
Our correspondent learned that there were no other withdraws registered, and al-Shabaab was actually deploying more fighters to some frontlines like those close to the Bakara Market to prevent the government forces from advancing. These new recruits are mainly coming from the Lower Shabelle and Bay regions, according to locals.
The TFG and AMISOM forces have also vowed to continue with their offensive against al-shabaab insurgents in the city, and warned residents not to come back to the newly seized areas until security is enhanced.
ASWJ Adds 700 More Fighters
Meanwhile, an estimated 700 pro-government Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa (ASWJ) troops on Sunday completed their military training in Dolow district of Ethiopia.
The forces will soon be integrated into the existing forces operating in Gedo region to fight al-Shabaab. According to local sources, these new troops will focus on 'cleaning' operations at the rear of the advanced forces that are currently based in Garbaharey and Luq districts.
The deployment of the new troops was part of the promises the Ethiopian government made two weeks ago when it mediated between the warring factions of ASWJ. The militia contributes much of the anti-Al-shabaab forces supported by Ethiopia in Gedo, Hiran and Bakol region, which also borders Ethiopia.