Pro-government force takes 2nd town: Somali official

The offensive is part of a move aimed at ending Islamist militants` grip.

Last Updated: Mar 07, 2011, 16:09 PM IST

Mogadishu: An official says pro-government forces have taken control of a strategic town in western Somalia after Islamist militants abandoned it.

Sheik Mohamed Isaq, a commander of the militiamen allied with Somalia`s weak transitional government, said his forces entered Luuq on Monday morning without a gunbattle.

Luuq is 85 kilometres (55 miles) east of Belet Hawo, a town that pro-government militiamen overran on Saturday. It is a gateway to any push to capture other towns in Gedo region and beyond.

Such battleground successes are considered a morale booster for the troops.

The pro-government offensive is part of a move aimed at ending Islamist militants` grip on large swaths of Somalia`s southern and central regions.

Bureau Report