Ethiopian troops fighting militant Islamist group al-Shabab have withdrawn from a key military base in central Somalia’s Galgudud region, according to residents.
Heavily armed al-Shabab fighters took control of El Bur following the pullout of Ethiopian troops and a small number of Somali National Army soldiers early Monday.
The fall of El Bur was confirmed by Nur Hassan Gutale, the town’s district commissioner, who said Ethiopians did not tell them the reason of their withdrawal.
“The Ethiopians and our troops withdrew from the town and now it is under the control of the militants. The Ethiopians did not inform us about their withdrawal plan and once we saw them abandoning, our troops also abandoned,” Gutale said.
Residents of El Bur say al-Shabab militants traveling in pickup trucks moved into the town early Monday without a fight.