Somali, Ethiopian troops to strike Shabaab in S. Somalia

MOGADISHU – Somali and Ethiopian troops are preparing a major military operation against the militant Al-Shabaa group in Hudur, the provincial capital of the southwestern Bakool region, according to military sources.

"The troops are nearly 30kms from Hudur," a source told Anadolu Agency on Friday, requesting anonymity for not being authorized to speak to the media.

Eyewitnesses in the area told AA they had seen massive Somali and Ethiopian troop buildup, including tanks, marching towards Hudur.

The military operation is described as part of the Somali government`s campaign to flush out the militant group from areas under its control.

On Wednesday, government forces and African peacekeepers managed to recapture the southern town of Rab Dhuure from Al-Shabaab.

Abdel-Nour Mohamed, deputy governor of the Bakool region, confirmed the recapture of the town.

"This is a major military victory," he told AA.

Al-Shabaab, however, continues to control several towns in the southeastern Lower Shebelle region.

Somalia has remained in the grip of on-again, off-again violence since the outbreak of civil war in 1991.

The country appeared to have stabilized recently with the installation of a new government and the intervention of African Union troops tasked with combatting Al-Shabaab.

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