Mogadishu — Somali National Army (SNA) along with the African Union forces on Tuesday moved closer to the main rebel-held city of Bur-hakabo, some 163 Km north-west Mogadishu, reports said.
Fighters of the rebel group of Al-Shabab have on Tuesday began withdrawing from Bur-hakaba district of Bay region as the coalition forces are heading to that city, according to Ahmed Mohamed Yusuf, district Commissioner DC of the city.
Somali soldiers and Ethiopian forces seized Baidoa last February without any resistance and combat from Al-Shabab militants.
However, Al-Shabab leaders described their withdrawal as "tactical retreat" and will strike back against the government forces and their allied regional troops.
"Our forces are just an area not far from the town. God willing we will be there soon. We call upon the local people to stay in doors during the operation to seize it from Al shabab," Mr. Yusuf added.
Somali and AMISOM forces have in the past captured several main towns and locations on Mogadishu-Baidoa road within the same region.