Mogadishu: The African Union force commander in Somalia has appealed for thousands of extra troops to secure the capital, after militant Islamists left the city. Maj Gen Fred Mugisha said the militant al-Shabab group still threatened stability in Mogadishu and troops were needed to protect food aid.The government has said it is offering amnesty to the group’s fighters.
Somalia has been hit by 20 years of conflict, while a famine has gripped parts of the country since June.
Al-Shabab controls most of south and central Somalia, including Lower Shabelle and Bakool, the regions worst affected by the famine.
On Saturday, it surprised many analysts by announcing a withdrawal of its forces from Mogadishu.
Gen Mughisha said al-Shabab had not withdrawn completely and pockets of insurgents remained in the city.
“About 90%-95% of Mogadishu has been liberated, creating areas for starving people to access food,” he said
“But the city is not as calm as we would like it to be.”
Al-Shabab fighters launched an overnight attack in the city on two fronts.
However, they retreated after AU and government forces returned fire.