MOGADISHU, Somalia (AA) – The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), alongside the Somali national army (SNA), recaptured a strategic town Tuesday in southern Somalia, according to an official.
Burundian peacekeepers serving under the AU mission, backed by Somali soldiers, retook El-Baraf in the Middle Shabelle province, according to mayor Abdullahi Haji.
It comes 14 days after al-Qaeda-affiliated group al-Shabab attacked an AU military base in the town that killed dozens of Burundian troops.
El-Baraf is located 150 kilometers (93 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu.
A security official told Anadolu Agency that AU peacekeepers have an image to protect and recapturing the town will ease the pressure that was put on them after they lost the town in the al-Shabaab raid.
“ATMIS have an image to protect because they are paid millions of dollars by the international partners to fight al-Shabaab and it will be shameful and an admission of defeat if they don’t get back to the Ceel Baraf military base or inflict huge damage to al-Shabaab,” he told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.
The town is also strategically significant for military operations against the group in the region.