3 March 2018

Somalia: Somali Troops Retake Balad Town From Al-Shabaab Militants

The Somali National Army (SNA) recaptured Balad town north of Mogadishu after a brief takeover by the militant group, Al-Shabaab.

Mahad Osman, former Information Minister, and current Member of Parliament from Hirshabelle State confirmed to Radio Shabelle the capture of the town.

"I have the report of two civilians killed, a computer school burnt down, a Balad radio station looted and a community leader's vehicle was also burned down. There was heavy fighting between Somali National Army and the militants today," Osman said.

He did not disclose the number of SNA casualties.

Balad residents told Media that they saw mini-bus carrying wounded people to Jowhar town.

Al-Shabaab militants overran Balad town which is located about 30 kilometers north of Mogadishu in the mid-morning attack, taking control from government forces.

The insurgents later confirmed through its affiliated websites that they were in full control of the town.

When militants took over the city on Friday morning they directly went towards the radio station premises, besieged and looted all the equipment including the radio transmitter and all computers in the building.

Islow said the extremists also ransacked the archive of the radio station and destroyed most of the broadcasting equipment.

Radio Balad was the only community radio station in the city and the residents will have no access to important news and entertainment they were used to.

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