Al-Shabaab militants attacked and took charge of Bala’d town for hours Monday night, sources said.
Witnesses said the militants attacked the town which is located some 36km north east of the capital Mogadishu from two directions.
According to the local residents, the militants romped into the town and discharged inmates from prison cells in the town. The militants, sources added burnt down government vehicles and shops in the town.
The attack came barely 12 hours after Al-Shabaab militants took over Dhanaane area in Lower Shabelle region after Somali National Army troops vacated reportedly over non-payment of salaries for four months.
The group has suffered sustained pressure since the beginning of the year from joint operations by Somali National Army forces backed with AMISOM forces and continued US airstrikes.