March 02, 2012
A major base of Somalia's al-Shabab militants has been captured on the outskirts of the capital by government troops backed by African Union forces.
"This operation is necessary to consolidate the security of Mogadishu," AU commander Maj Gen Fred Mugisha said as the offensive began.
AU and government forces took control of most of Mogadishu last year.
But correspondents says al-Shabab fighters were able to launch attacks in the city from their Maslah base.
Al-Shabab is under attack on several fronts, with troops from Kenya and Ethiopia also gaining ground recently.
But the group, which joined al-Qaeda last month, still controls much of southern and central Somalia.
It described its withdrawal from Mogadishu last August as "tactical" and has continued to stage suicide attacks in the city.
Source, BBC News
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