Somali government troops backed by African Union peacekeepers on Sunday recaptured the key port of Merka from al-Shabaab insurgents, just one day after the Islamists swept into the city, the army and residents said.
“The Somali forces and AMISOM peacekeepers secured control of Merka again and now the situation has returned to normal,” a Somali military official, Abdirisak Mohamed, told AFP by telephone from Mogadishu. “There was brief exchange of gunfire, but the (Shabaab) militants have fled.”
He said “several” Shabaab fighters and one Somali soldier were killed in the clashes, and “the security forces are now conducting clearing operations inside town.”
A resident reached by telephone said the AU force, known by its acronym AMISOM, used tanks to recapture the port.
“Four people died in our neighbourhood and two others were wounded, I can see AMISOM and Somali troops returned to the city now and they are conducting security operations”, Muhidin Osman said.