Al Shabab fighters took control of Amaar locality in Mudug region witnesses say.
The residents in that area said that they have seen tens of fighting vehicles and fighters pooring into the village.
The group, which seeks to overthrow the Western-backed government and impose Islamic law, has remained a potent threat in the Horn of Africa country even after being forced out of the capital Mogadishu in 2011.
Residents have several times said they had been treated brutally by both sides, but some said they welcomed the return of al Shabaab.
“The problem is that the government cannot keep control of the town and it does not want Al-Shabab to rule it,” said one the locals who declined his name. “Government troops rape, rob and kill us. Al Shabaab also punishes anyone who sells items to the government.
The group regularly attacks the AU-led peacekeeping force and Somali authorities.
On Sept. 1, al Shabaab stormed an AMISOM base in Janale, about 90 km (55 miles) south of Mogadishu, killing at least 12 Ugandan soldiers. Al Shabab said it had killed 70 people in the assault, which came roughly a year after its leader Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed in a U.S. air strike.