African Force Says 80% of Somali Regions Seized From Militants

The African Union mission in Somalia has forced al-Qaeda-linked militants to relinquish control of about 80 percent of the country’s southern and central regions, a senior official said.

The African force and Somalia’s national army are recruiting police officers to secure areas after they’re recaptured from the Islamist militant group al-Shabaab, acting commander Major General Mohammedesha Zeyinu told reporters Wednesday in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Al-Shabaab has been in retreat in Somalia since its fighters were forced to withdraw from Mogadishu in August 2011 after a series of military defeats. It still stages deadly attacks in the city as well as on bases used by the multinational force elsewhere in the Horn of Africa country.