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Somalia Islamists Abandon Last Stronghold


Somalia's Islamist Shebab rebels have been increasingly on the back foot in recent months.

Somalia's Islamist Shebab rebels have been increasingly on the back foot in recent months.

Al-Qaeda linked Shebab rebels say they have withdrawn from the southern Somali port city of Kismayo, their last bastion in the country.

Shebab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said the group’s military command had ordered a tactical retreat overnight on September 28-29.

Residents in the city confirmed that the Islamist fighters had moved outside city lines and that Al-Sebab's radio station, Radio Andalus, was off the air.

The news comes a day after an assault on the city by African Union force in Somalia (AMISOM).

Kismayo has been a vital lifeline for the Shebab since the AMISOM reconquered most of the capital, Mogadishu, last year and Ethiopian troops stripped them of other key cities in the east.

In places where the Shebab have abandoned fixed positions, they have switched to guerrilla tactics, including in Mogadishu.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters
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