Halgan village located some 75 kilometres east of Beledweyne town in Hiiraan region central Somalia fell on Al-Shabaab hands Sunday morning following withdrawal by Ethiopian troops under Amisom barely two weeks after a similar scenario in El-Ali locality in Hiiraan region.
Goobjoog News correspondent in Beledweyne said local security forces left their stations following the Ethiopian forces withdrawal leaving the area for Al-Shabaab’s entry.
Source further told Goobjoog News the militant group conducted house to house searches and asked locals to stay indoors. It was not clear if there were any cases of arrests or torture which has been a common element among the militants who hunt down people they considers as sympathizers of collaborators of the allied forces.
Amisom spokesman Joe Kibet confirmed the fall of Hagan to Goobjoog News noting the forces had made a tactical withdrawal for rearmament.
“Amisom troops pulled out for reconfiguration and unfortunately Al-Shabaab went right away into the village. You will note that they have not been located far away from that place,” said Kibet.
The spokesman also said Halgan is located far from Amisom supply centres making it difficult to provide support to the troops. He however noted Amisom will endevour to take back the area but added the operations will ensure no harm to civilians.
Ethiopian troops withdrew from El Ali locality October 12 leaving the area to Al-Shabaab immediate control. The militants executed three civilians and arrested over 50 others accusing them of collaborating with the Ethiopian troops.
A similar withdrawal from Mogokori, some 140 kilometres south east of Beledweyne on September 15 this year left the place in the hands of Al-Shabaab to date.
A fierce battle in Halgan village mid last year killed at least 140 Al-Shabaab fighters according to Amisom.
The Amisom spokesman however said the troops were ready to protect all election centres in the country as elections for Lower House start this week.
“We will be able to secure the elections since we will be able to concentrate our forces in the specific election centres,” noted Kibet.