Mogadishu: Somalia`s al Shabaab militants have withdrawn from the southern port city of Kismayo overnight, the group and residents said, a day after African union forces attacked the militants` last bastion.
According to reports, the decisive battle in Kismayo has dealt a major blow to the al Qaeda-linked movement, depriving it of revenue and weakening morale, but is unlikely to mark its demise.
The rebels, who once controlled large swathes of the lawless Horn of Africa country, have been turning to guerrilla-style tactics.
"We moved out our fighters ... from Kismayo at midnight," al Shabaab spokesman, Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage was quoted as saying.
However, the rebel group has threatened to hit back. The development has also been confirmed by the local residents, who claimed that militants had pulled out under the cover of darkness.
With Agency Inputs